Information on Proposed 2017 Water Rate Adjustments
January 31, 2017
INFORMATION ON PROPOSED
2017 WATER RATE ADJUSTMENTS
The City of Woodland is proposing a multi-year water rate ordinance that would establish maximum allowable water rate increases for 2017-2021. Notices were mailed to all city water customers on January 20th, and a Public Hearing is set for March 7th at 6:00pm for the City Council to consider the proposed multi-year rate ordinance.
- Overall water utility revenues are proposed to by increased by approximately 5.5% per year over the next five years. If approved, some customers will see water bills increase by 5.5%, some will see slightly lower increases and some will see slightly higher increases, depending on customer class and actual water use.
- The City’s last water rate ordinance was adopted in 2012 and provided for maximum annual increases of 17.0% per year from 2013 through 2016. The main reason for the need to implement the 2013-16 water rate increases was to cover costs associated with the city’s proportionate share of the Davis-Woodland Surface Water Project, including regional and local treatment, distribution and storage facilities. At that time, it was anticipated that future annual water rate increases would be in the range of 3%-4% per year.
- However, as a result of favorable contract and financing terms associated with the Surface Water Project, the City Council did not implement the full 17.0% rate increase for 2016 and instead implemented a 9.5% water rate increase. At the time, it was anticipated that future rate increases would be slightly below 4% per year.
- Based on the most recent update of our 2016 water rate study, and in consultation with our citizen’s Water Utility Advisory Committee, staff is recommending annual rate adjustments of 5.5% per year for 2017-2021 in order to support the operations of the city’s municipal water utility. The rate increases are primarily due to the following factors:
- Inflation. Approximately 3% of the proposed annual increase is needed merely to meet the normal incremental inflation of costs associated with maintaining existing water infrastructure, including the distribution system, above-ground water tanks, and water meters.
- Ongoing Need for Infrastructure Improvements. Approximately 0.5% of the rate adjustments support specific capital infrastructure projects needed to meet new State drinking water standards associated with Hexavalent Chromium. This newly-adopted state requirement would prohibit the city from relying on existing groundwater wells to meet peak demand during the summer months.
- Reduced Water Use. City water customers have responded very well to the need to conserve water as a result of the protracted drought. On an annual basis, water use in the City has been reduced approximately 30% when compared to pre-drought (2013) levels. This level of conservation has exceeded earlier projections, and has reduced revenues to meet the requirements of the water utility. As a result, about 1.5% of the proposed rate increase each year is needed to partially offset the loss in water utility revenues resulting from conservation.
- Drought Surcharge. The state is still dealing with the impacts of a protracted drought, and communities are subject to mandatory water conservation measures dictated by the State. To guard against unintended impacts of even more stringent conservation mandates, we are proposing adding a drought surcharge to our rate structure that could be implemented by the City Council in the event that mandatory conservation targets exceed 25% of benchmarks, triggering the city’s Stage II water conservation measures. Thus far the City has not had the need to implement this level of mandated water conservation.
For additional information, a list of Frequently Asked Questions may be accessed via the following link: