New water rates set for ratepayers and retailers



Local water officials endorsed water rate increases for both SCV ratepayers who get their water from the Santa Clarita Water District and for local water retailers who get their water from the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

Special meetings were called last week for boards representing the CLWA, the agency’s related Upper Santa Clara Valley Joint Powers Authority and the Devil’s Den Water District to discuss and ratify a number of issues related to the operation of each district.

Among the several recommendations put to a vote, CLWA board members voted in favor of a recommendation to adopt water rate increases for the Santa Clarita Water Division – one of SCV’s three key water retailers which is owned by the CLWA – and water rate increases for the sale of wholesale water to retailers.

The super board meeting of special meetings on Nov. 20 was called just over a month before the new water all-encompassing water agency goes into effect January 2018.  The scheduling change was made to avoid meeting on Thanksgiving, as initially scheduled.

A “transition meeting” on the same night – to discuss the nuts and bolts of the new water agency – was cancelled.

By setting water rates now, the incoming Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency will have one less issue to worry about.

“By adopting the calendar year 2019 rates now, the newly formed SCV Water Agency board will be able to focus on strategic and policy issues which will require significant work and effort during most of calendar year 2018,” CLWA Assistant General Manager Valerie Pryor said in a memo to CLWA board members, referring to recommended changes to wholesale water rates.

CLWA board members approved new wholesale water rates set for SCV’s three water purveyors – the SCWD, the Valencia Water Company – which the CLWA also owns – and the Newhall County Water District.

Board members approved a 2.6 percent increase in the cost of water sold to water retailers for calendar year 2019, with a provision for annual adjustments by the consumer price index in the following years.

The increased wholesale water rate to retailers is similar to the increase approved for regular mom-and-pop water users who get their water from the Santa Clarita Water Division.

The CLWA board of directors approved a recommendation to set new water rates for the SCWD for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

CLWA board members voted to raise SCWD water rates by 13 percent – and as much as 16 percent in some cases – over the next three years.

A couple living in the SCV who pays the SCWD $39.67 for using 800 cubic feet of water in a month will now be expected to pay $46.20 for the same amount of water in 2020, according to the rates adopted last week, an increase of 16.5 percent over three years, or an average of 5.5 percent  per year.

Similarly, an average SCV family of two adults and two kids paying $58.52 for 1800 cubic feet of water used in a month, would pay $66.10 for the same amount of water, an increase of 13 percent over three years, or an average of 4.3 percent per year.

“For the average customer, the estimated increase in the monthly bill from 2017 to 2020 is 13 percent,” Valerie Pryor, CLWA’s assistant general manager, told The Signal in September when the rates were first suggested to the board.

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