The EMWD Plans to Implement Tiered Water Rates

The Eastern Municipal Water District will implement a tiered rate structure next year, likely to beg...

watering the sidewalkThe Eastern Municipal Water District will implement a tiered rate structure next year, likely to begin March 2009. The more water you use, the higher the rate you'll pay. Right now, everyone is charged a uniform rate of $1.91 for every 748 gallons used.

The district will take a look at each residence, count how many people are living there, how big the property is, and figure out how much you're supposed to use.

The EMWD will also adjust that amount based on the weather and season.

So if you go above your budgeted limit they'll charge you a higher rate. But if you use less than the limit, they'll still charge you the base rate.

The district will implement this in a two-phase process. Beginning March 2009 with the first phase, the district will identify "customer groups" and come up with average family sizes and lot sizes, and a base rate for each group. In the months following, they'll come up individual rates for each specific residence, and implement those rates by January 2010.

I contacted Peter Odencrans, the media contact for the EMWD to get some more specifics. I asked if the district will be taking into account residences with swimming pools. He said the district did some studies on this and found that the typical family swimming pool uses up about as much as water as a similarly sized patch of lawn. Sounds like they won't factor in your swimming pool.

I also asked how they planned to figure out how many people live in each residence. They don't have a plan to figure that out just yet. They also don't plan to hire any extra employees, therefore they won't be spending a lot of money to figure this out. I asked if they might be including a questionnaire in our water bills, but he again stated that the district doesn't have a plan on this yet.

Another question I asked was how the district will define "customer groups" for the first phase implementation. Odencrans didn't quite have an answer on that either. I wondered if these group were defined by geographic region, current usage, or what.

Presently, the average residence across the district uses about 13,464 gallons of water each month, which is equal to 18 billing units. 1 unit equals 748 gallons. If you look at your water bill, you'll see that the EMWD charges you by the number of "billing units".

So, if you're currently using more than 18 units per month, should you be concerned about getting hit with higher rates? Don't know. Larger properties, and larger families will warrant more billing units. You could be living by yourself in a single-wide trailer and find that 18 units per month is too much. But if you're a family of four, living in a 2,000 sq ft home, on a 6,000 sq ft lot, and you're using 40 billing units per month, then you might have cause for concern.

You can read more about this here...

Stop Water Runoff Policy

The EMWD also sent out a friendly reminder yesterday that beginning September 1, they'll be enforcing their new water runoff policy.

The policy is that if they see watering running off of your residence, and into the gutter, they're going to stiff you with some penalties.

Here's the warnings and fines...

  • 1st violation: Written warning

  • 2nd violation: Final written warning

  • 3rd violation: $100 surcharge on customer's water bill

  • 4th violation: $200 surcharge on customer's water bill

  • 5th or more violations: $300 surcharge on customer's water bill
I asked Peter Odencrans how they plan to enforce this new policy. He said, "That's the $64,000 question". All they plan to have for the time being is one guy who will spend eight hours a month, driving through neighborhoods looking for water runoff. Considering the district covers an area that reaches Moreno Valley, Hemet, and Temecula, it doesn't sound like they'll be citing many violators.

Odencrans went on to say that they'll be looking for obvious signs, such as moss growing in the gutter.

He also said people are welcome to report their neighbors.


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