Cambria water rates could double

July 25, 2014

cambriaCambria water rates could soon double if the community moves forward with an $8.8 million emergency water supply project. [Tribune]

After a protest failed Thursday night, the Cambria Community Services District board voted unanimously to approve a major rate hike. If the CSD finalized plans for the new water system, average bimonthly bills will increase from $48.02 to $109.02 when the emergency system is operating.

When the system is not in operation, residents will pay an average bill of $85.02. The rate hike is slated to take effect Sept. 1.

During Thursday’s protest hearing, 800 residents submitted valid objections to the rate hike. In order to halt the rate increase, 1,970 customers needed to protest.

The proposed emergency water system includes wells, three separate treatment processes and an evaporation pond.

The CSD has already begun construction on the project under an emergency permit from the county. In order the system to become a permanent supply of water, though, the district will have to obtain approval from several state and federal agencies.

Some agencies, such as the Coastal Commission, have already expressed criticism of the project. The Coastal Commission stated in a letter that the proposed project inadequately protects coastal resources.


18 Comments

  1. OnTheOtherHand says:

    While I am normally sympathetic to those fighting excessive government fees, I don’t think that is the case here. I am a very light water user in south county and have been paying rates comparable to those that Cambria users will be charged under emergency conditions. Granted, some of that is a waste due to the gross mismanagement of the SCSD, but the difference is not big enough to call the proposed Cambria rates excessive given the difficulty of their water supply situation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. wineguyjc says:

    For nearly 30 years Cambria has faced a water crisis. District personnel have sat back and done nothing to plan for this day. Now that the crisis has peaked, it is an emergency. Not sure how the lack of planning, the lack of addressing an issue 30 years in the making, piss poor district management justifies a crisis situation that allows the district to impose drastic rate increase upon the community. Maybe salaries and benefits should be reduced. To be frank, they failed to do their jobs and we as residents are now going to pick up the tab in perpetuity. What a crock!

    Also, I love the phrase “when the system is not in operation.” Apparently, someone has failed to review NASA’s analysis of the ground water crisis in all 8 western states.

    Ah, the good news is that the District Manager can hire their personal friend, avoid the RFP / fair bid process and again award the funds to a personal friend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

    • tomsquawk says:

      unfortunately you are spot on. i

      have been recently “incensed” at city officials who are telling to what to do when the next fire comes. apparently they haven’t looked out their back window to see trees and undergrowth that hasn’t been managed in decaeds and there isn’t being much done about it….”an ounce of prevention….”

      water is the same. population growth, agricultural gowth and all most can see is an increase in the tax base (more to spend).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  3. MaryMalone says:

    Water purchases are expensive, especially when there is a shortage of water. At least Cambria has a killer gradient water-use charge, which helps keep people realistic in their water-use choices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  4. tomsquawk says:

    “Brown’s two terms were marked by a dramatic increase in water-resources development. The California Aqueduct, built as part of the program, was named for him”

    Yes, Jerry’s daddy, Edmund G. Pat Brown. He left us water. And Jerry?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  5. falconbh says:

    Have a real problem with the unfair Prop. 218 “Protest Vote” undemocratic process.

    Those that do not cast a vote are counted as a ” Yes” vote.
    It becomes a impossible hurdle that allows for ” Automatic Rate Increases”

    Special Districts have no incentive to control spending with an open check beck for Rate Increases.
    Their attitude towards Rate Increases reminds me of the era before Prop. 13 and Voters passed tax relief with a direct democratic vote of the people. The process is being abused by Water and Sanitation Districts.

    I believe Water Rate Increases should be capped at 2% per year.
    Infrastructure improvements should require a Bond that needs a majority approval in a real democratic election.

    Support Tax/Rate Relief Leaders in November Election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

    • topper01 says:

      “In order for evil to succeed all it takes is for good men to do nothing.”

      I do not live in Cambria, however, I have experienced a dramatic increase in my water rates. As a result, I am no longer watering my trees, grapes (personal – not commercial) or even my vegetable garden.

      I have rototiller most of my garden and will not replant. I will allow my property to revert to the “ala-natural” . I realize that will dramatically increase the fire danger, however, I know how the firefighters are hurting for overtime so it will benefit them also.

      Perhaps it is time to flee this paradise while property still has some value.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  6. shelworth says:

    Still not even half what Golden State charges in Los Osos. I feel for them though,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

    • topper01 says:

      Nor is $5.00 a gallon for gas half of what Italy charges! What dif does that make? Just because someone else is getting bent over worse than me, does not mean that I feel any less uncomfortable when someone tries to bend me over!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. tomsquawk says:

    notice how rates will never go back to where they were? pumping groundwater; how about a few more dams?

    and scrap the “bullet train” for water.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  8. SanSimeonSam says:

    One word….for Cambria and our entire county

    DESALINATION

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

    • Mariposa says:

      Has Cambria’s CSD seriously considered desalination? Wikipedia: “According to the International Desalination Association, in June 2011, 15,988 desalination plants operated worldwide, producing 66.5 million cubic meters per day, providing water for 300 million people. Production is expected to reach 120 million m3 by 2020; some 40 million m3 is planned for the Middle East. The world’s largest desalination plant is the Jebel Ali Desalination Plant (Phase 2) in the United Arab Emirates. The largest percent of desalinated water used in any country is in Israel, which produces 80% of its domestic water use from seawater desalination.”

      Desalination is not an inexpensive system but it should be considered a permanent fix to what is a perpetual problem for Cambria and other County coastal communities. PG&E operates a large desalination plant at Diablo Canyon that has proven successful for the clean water needs of the entire site.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

      • SanSimeonSam says:

        San Diego is building a series of Desal plants that will produce 50,000,000 gallons of water a day. Thats 153 acre feet per day. Its very expensive but we do live in a Cadillac desert. By comparison, the Naciemiento pipeline supplies about 14,000 acre feet a year. (If there is water in the lake) Perhaps we could find desal contractors that would pay out graft to the whores Gibson and Hill and get their support.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

      • Citizen says:

        Mariposa, Cambria has been considering a desal plant for twenty years or so. I believe the latest objection came from the Coastal Commission evironmentalists. Someone from Cambria may be able to give a synopsis, but yes, they were once very serious about desal and I think they have a small desal system for emergency (short term) use that can be activated but is more expensive than the present plan.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

      • SLO_Johnny says:

        The UAE has enormous amounts a natural gas to power their desalination system. They used to just throw away the gas by flaring it off so it is essentially free. In addition, they use the water three times by recycling which requires three separate water supply systems. The first time the water is for washing, cooking, and bathing. The waste water is processed and returned to flush toilets,etc… Then it is reprocessed a second time and it is returned for irrigation and industrial use. It’s hardly a practical solution.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • SLO_Johnny says:

      Desalination is VERY VERY expensive. If distillation is used, it requires a gigantic amount of fuel to boil the water which generates a great deal of CO2. If reverse osmosis is used, it requires a great deal of electricity to run the pumps. The sea water must be filtered and pretreated. A very concentrated brine solution is produced that must be diluted before being returned to the ocean. It would require at least 6 to 8 years to obtain the necessary permits from the California Coastal Commission ant the EPA before you could even begin construction.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

      • Mariposa says:

        “It would require at least 6 to 8 years to obtain the necessary permits from the California Coastal Commission and the EPA before you could even begin construction.” This is precisely the reason we need to get started now! Even though it won’t help with our current drought, we know from checking in with history this won’t be our last drought. The cost to design, permit, build, operate, and maintain a desalination plant(s) is not getting more affordable with the passage of time! Procrastination got us where we are now.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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