CITYWIDE — The Metropolitan Water District announced a 10 percent rate increase Tuesday, but that won’t have any impact on Santa Monicans, according to city officials.
Though City Hall buys 30 percent of its water from MWD, officials budgeted for the increase in advance, said Gil Borboa, water resources manager for City Hall.
“We have programmed in our rates, and it takes into account the amount of water we buy from (MWD),” Borboa said. “This was not something unexpected by us.”
In fact, it could have been worse.
According to Borboa, the MWD board went with two 5 percent increases — taking effect in January 2013 and January 2014, respectively — but had considered steeper jumps in water rates.
The increase comes as part of a two-year spending plan also approved Tuesday.
The plan aims to pump hundreds of millions of dollars to refurbish aging infrastructure, 40 percent of which is over 60 years old, according to a press release by MWD.
Fourteen years ago, the district spent $30 million, or about 5 percent of its total capital expenditures, on sustaining the water system. In the next two years, it will spend $280 million, almost 10 times that amount, according to the release.
The district has also taken steps to cut costs by deferring growth-related projects and reducing its capital program by $165 million, or approximately 23 percent. MWD also cut its staff by 160, according to the release.
The announced increases come just weeks after the Santa Monica City Council approved an over $800,000 contract with Kennedy/Jenks Consultants for a water master plan, a document meant to support City Hall’s mission to cut its dependence on MWD water to zero by 2020.
The study will identify water resources in Santa Monica, ways in which City Hall can reduce water consumption and figure out exactly what it should be charging residents for the water that they use, Borboa said.
Santa Monica already produces approximately 72 percent of its own water, an important achievement after a chemical leak left most of its wells polluted for over a decade.