Atascadero families to pay more for high water use

May 26, 2015

atascadero_sign_photoThe Atascadero Mutual Water Co. is raising rates for residential consumers who use the most water, and all city water users could soon face surcharges. [Tribune]

AMWC officials have identified approximately 9,300 single-family residences, or about 20 percent Atascadero homes, as being responsible for about 60 percent of the city’s water use. Those homes consume more than 26,000 gallons of water a month.

Starting with the July water bill, single families that consume 26,000-50,000 gallons a month will pay $5.25 per 1,000 gallons, rather than the existing rate of $4.80. Single-family water users that exceed 50,000 face corresponding rate hikes.

The AMWC board adopted the rate hikes in attempt to comply with a state mandate to reduce its water usage to 28 percent below 13 levels.

In addition to raising some rates, the board has approved surcharges that take effect June 5. All water users, residential or commercial, will receive surcharges if they consume more water during any month in 2015 than they did during the same month in 2013.

During its meeting last week, the board also reduced the number of days outdoor watering is allowed. Watering is now restricted to Tuesdays and Saturdays for properties with even-numbered addresses and Wednesdays and Sundays for odd-numbered addresses.

Outdoor water is already prohibited between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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I think everyone agrees that there is a drought going on. But haven’t we already paid to address this problem with the horrendous cost of a water meter and an increase in fees to pay for the Naciemento water project? Where are the fruits of the payments we have made for that? Even though this is a Mutual Water Company and not a Municipal Water Company they are reacting like a government entity-one shoe fits all. There isn’t much that is really fair, but how do you compare 2 adults living in a home compared to a family of 6? We have larger lots in Atascadero where many have horses and other animals that require large amounts of water when there are high temperatures. Where is the fairness in addressing these situations? I believe that fairness will be the increased profits for the water company along with higher wages and benefits. After all when you provide less product that would necessitate an increase in pay for less work. The Water Company should have a complete disclosure to the public of where these additional funds will be going.

But what I really want to know is there any plan in place to reduce all of these fees when things, and I hope they do, get back to normal? Will there be a rebate? They never have in the past and I don’t expect them to.

I have a swell idea… let’s fill the lake! That way the two tourists a year that stop in Atascadero can tell their friends about it.

China is the number one buyer for California wines and hay/alfalfa. It’s okay we are exporting our water sources. No big deal, fine me instead of fining the winery who hit the bottom of the well and drilling looking for more….

You know what makes me so frustrated?

I am part of a generation that is getting the shaft all around.

We will probably not draw social security, though we will have paid in to it our entire lives.

We don’t have the plethora of jobs that my parents and grandparents once enjoyed; jobs that straight out of high school, one could walk in to a factor, job profession for “on the job training” and make enough to support a family of 4-5 on that one income.

We have sky high inflation, so that a house that my parents paid 30k for in 1978 now costs 550k today.

The children’s programs, like the Roller Rink in Morro Bay, Community Swimming Pools where kids could LITERALLY go all day for like $60 a summer are long gone. Parents now pay $750 and up for their school age kids to go to “summer camp” while the parents work.

And now? Now there are “penalties” being imposed on items that should be HUMAN RIGHTS. It should be ILLEGAL to impose “penalties” to water. Our local families struggle enough as it is to scrape out a living on the Central Coast. Maybe the homes with extra water have extra people. Maybe families pay so much for this old homes that don’t have water friendly fixtures that they cannot afford to retrofit them.

I have been slowly working on changing out toilets, fixtures, etc. A kitchen faucet with sprayer can cost $500 for the fixture alone. Not everyone is wealthy and gets raises. What are families to do?

I call bullshit on water fines. In every town.

Things could be worse, RN, you could be some girl named Maria, living in Cuba.

And it could be better.

I am a realist, and a problem solver. Imposing stupid fines on people does NOT solve a problem. Now we have people who still need water and now have huge fines. Instead of the DREAM act or some useless crap, why not spend some tax $$ to hold an open house with some FIXTURES that taxpayers can have for FREE or reduced cost that are easy to use/install? How about TEACH people that conserving water is not as overwhelming as it seems????

Middle class families are struggling right now. We are approaching end of school year, and many now face the dauntiing task of funding SUMMER KID CAMPS for their 2-3 kids so parents can work. Parents can’t just turn their kids loose like in 1972, when they could ride their bikes all day and run around the neighborhood until the street lights come on. CPS or the local PD will be at your house, because some jerk of a neighbor thinks the kids are “unsupervised and neglected”.

I think MOST people want to conserve. It needs to seem do-able and affordable. Maybe hold some sort of “event” in Atascadero to show people some affordable ways to save. Maybe give people who show up and receive the information that have fines a “one time waiver” to allow them a chance to learn, to see what they can reasonably shop for to save $$ in their own homes, and a billing cycle to implement the changes.

I agree that your generation is getting the shaft in many of the ways you describe. I would hope that you realize that not everyone in my generation supported the trends that led to this. I suspect that we might not even agree on why some of them occurred or who is responsible.

That said, the standards of living that many of your generation are expecting in terms of possessions and services far exceed that which the previous generation experienced. From the size of houses to the number of household vehicles to the frequency of dining out to all the electronic gadgetry (and the quality of services to use it) — these items which the average person now considers normal were once the realm of doctors, lawyers and similarly higher-income people (to the extent they existed at all.) While it may burn to do so, your generation may have to learn to do without more of the “frills” if you want to afford necessities like water when the cost of delivering it rises. ($500 for a kitchen faucet with a sprayer is paying for luxury — you can buy a very nice one for half of that — unless the price included installation.)

i hate to date myself but in college, in the 60’s, our sociology professors predicted all this; that our children will not enjoy the lifestyle of past generations. too many rats in the box.


my dad and i were born in LA. he died a multi millionaire because HE CONSERVED

i agree with you

Shame on the AMWC boards logic on the “Surcharge” rational.

It’s flawed and allows the company to justify a rate increase and feel good about doing it.

Kinda like selling used property with a new paint job, but is know defective.

The “Surcharge” logic is flawed, since if you are already a rock bottom saver you’ll get penalized with a surcharge for usage that may be considered typically low for most but could be doubled your previous year rate because you were on vacation or didn’t have the usual normal load, or whatever legitimate reason.

You have a good point about penalizing people who were already saving before but it is not what is being discussed in the article.

They can raise rates on people who actually live here but it is totally okay to keep building hotels for those passing through and keep expanding those vineyards which I like to call fake agriculture for the rich. Look what is happening to Slo. We are in one of the biggest droughts and instead of slowing down the growth, we hit the ground at full speed. The county has become very greedy. We can build 5 more hotels and more housing but where is the water going to come from? They keep asking us citizens to conserve water. We are, its backwards thinking, how are they conserving while building when we are in a drought. Nice new hotel by Home Depot in A-town.

But they need to new tax dollars to keep funding the public service gravy train, $120,000 to this police chief, $250,000 to that chief and so on and so on and so on. Without that new money they would have to actually live within their means, and likely cut salaries, benefits and pensions and start firing people who steal, and commit crimes. And plus no more Christmas gifts of public money, something else that is against the law.

Why not let unbiased mathematics determine fair billing ?

The 20% that overconsume and use 60% should be paying for 60% of aggregate costs.

This 20% are consuming TRIPLE that of their more conscienscious neighbors. Therefore, they should be charged $14.40 for every 1,000 gallons used over 26,000 per month. A .35 premium over $4.80 is only 7% …a pittance.

For once, we agree. I wonder how many actually read the article. This isn’t an across the board increase but only for the heaviest users. I check my bill and it was for 6000 gallons. That’s with 4 people. What the heck? 25,000 gallons? The issue that I have is, where is the extra tax money going? It’s not going to make it rain. I doubt that someone who is using that much water is going to be too concerned about a $.45/1000 gal. increase.

I agree with being sensitive to one’s water use. HOWEVER, with falling income the water districts will raise their “delivery charge” just as was done with solar by PG&E or SDG&E. darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

btw the way i forgot to set my timer and some water ran down the gutter. i got a notice and that was during the day but the city will be sending people out at night now. L.A. does already