Alameda County Water District: Tiered rates, water overuse penalties considered

A special meeting to discuss the issue in greater detail has been scheduled at 5pm tonight (Mon, 5/5), at the Alameda County Water District office, 43885 S. Grimmer Blvd., Fremont. This advance story ran over the weekend:

FREMONT — Burdened with a $15 million budget shortfall caused by the drought, water district directors will meet Monday to consider bridging the fiscal gap by penalizing heavy water users.

The method Alameda County Water District leaders would have to approve involves “drought surcharge” water rates that increase per-gallon charges for customers in single-family residences as they exceed mandated water-use levels.

Most residences pay $3.37 per unit of water, which remains the same no matter how much the customer uses, district leaders said.

But that would change under the proposed rate structure, which would impose three separate rates for each two-month billing cycle based on a water “unit” of 748 gallons:

  • Use of 0-16 water units: zero surcharge.
  • Use of 16-30 water units: a surcharge as high as $1.94, pushing the total charge per unit to $5.31.
  • Use of 30 or more water units: a surcharge as high as $2.93, pushing the total charge per unit to $6.30.

A flat surcharge as high as 63 cents, regardless of water use, would be applied to residents in apartments and other multifamily residences, businesses, schools and government agencies — boosting their total charge per unit to $4.00.

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Chris DeBenedetti