Millions of dollars in federal aid are still available for low-income water customers in San Diego County to cover overdue residential water and wastewater bills. The San Diego County Water Authority helped secure the federal funds — and the deadline for applications has been extended to March 31, 2024.
Some Peninsulans are getting an unexpected surprise in their mailboxes: several months worth of water bills all due at once.
Part-time Windansea resident Brad Owens recently experienced a one-two punch that some others in La Jolla can empathize with. First, his water bills skyrocketed as much as 12-fold, even in a time when he wasn’t in San Diego. Then he learned his sewer rate for the coming year will be based on the water rate from that time, so his sewer bill will be 10 times its normal amount.
But perhaps more frustrating for Owens is the lack of information available about the policies and procedures of the San Diego Public Utilities Department, which handles water issues, and what can be done about unexplained rate spikes.
January storms propelled California from a state of water scarcity to one of water optimism.
The drought outlook in much of the state has improved thanks to continued and steady precipitation, and with more than two months left in the wet season, snowfall in the Central Sierra mountains of California has already reached 100% of the average for an entire year.
The cost of delivering safe, clean tap water to every household and business in a community is massive. In fact, it may be among the most expensive of all human undertakings. That is why only the wealthiest countries have achieved it at high rates and why 2 billion people on our planet still lack it.
For 35 days between March and April of this year, Dante Woolfolk went without any running water in his house in Brooktrails, a small town nestled amid the leafy canopies of Mendocino County in Northern California. A spiraling unpaid water bill had led the local water system to turn off the spigot.
For those 35 days, says Woolfolk, his life was upended. He purchased water to cook, make coffee and clean the house. He believes he “easily” spent $600 on bottled water alone. The 36-year-old’s three children stayed with a nearby friend.
Carlsbad plans to increase its water and sewer rates in 2022, the first of three steps that will boost the average family’s current monthly combined water and sewer bill by a total of $24.78 in 2024.
The City Council voted unanimously last week to set a public hearing on the new rates for 5 p.m. Jan. 11. If approved, the first higher rate will take effect on March 1 with additional increases on Jan. 1 of the next two years.
Democratic lawmakers and advocates are urging Joe Biden to back legislation proposing unprecedented investment in America’s ailing water infrastructure amid the country’s worst crisis in decades that has left millions of people without access to clean, safe, affordable water.
A broad coalition of organizations is urging Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to mandate a national moratorium on water and other utility shutoffs on day one in the White House, in order to curtail the spread of Covid-19 and ease the financial burden on struggling Americans.
Rep. T.J. Cox-D, who represents a portion of Southwestern Tulare County, introduced the Western Water Storage Infrastructure Act, an $800 million bill addressing surface and groundwater storage and water delivery.
The bill is another in a series of bills addressing water infrastructure in the Central Valley that have been introduced in Congress. California representatives Jim Costa-D and John Garamendi-D are co-sponsors of the legislation.
The bill is designed to essentially replace funding authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation, WIIN, Act, which has been exhausted. The $800 million is more than double what was previously available. The bill also extends the operational and environmental authorities of the WIIN Act to provide continued water supply without adverse impacts to listed species.