1.3 million in Alameda, Contra Costa counties face water rate increases July 1

East Bay MUD plans two consecutive annual average rate hikes of 7.5%

East Bay Municipal Utility District directors Tuesday voted to increase water rates by an average of 7.5 percent for each of the next two years for the system's 1.3 million customers. The new rates will go into effect July 1.

Any increase would not affect Pleasanton, although the city plans to adjust and likely raise water rates mext January after public hearings later this year.

Although the increases start July 1, they likely won't show up on customer bills after Sept. 1. The increases are the largest by EBMUD in 13 years.

However, board members have said that bills for most customers would remain about the same as they are now because the district also plans to end mandatory water rationing effective July 1, which means that the 10 percent drought rate increase that was imposed last year will expire.

However, ther board approved an incrfease in the drought year rate to an additional 14 percent.

Although precipitation this winter was below normal for the third straight year, the level of 88 percent of normal was much higher than last year's total and is enough to end rationing, district officials said.

EBMUD's customers have reduced their water usage, but the downside is that it has led to a reduction in the revenues the district has received.

Another reason that revenues are down is that EBMUD is receiving lower connection fees for homes because of the real estate crisis.

Jeb Bing,Bay City News

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