Difficult Decisions in Challenging Times: EBMUD approves rates for critical infrastructure investment and maintenance of water and wastewater systems

Today, the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors voted 6-1 to approve water and wastewater rates for Fiscal Years 2018/2019.

The approved rates fund a $2 billion investment in the infrastructure and maintenance of the vital water and wastewater systems East Bay residents and businesses rely on every day.

“As a public not-for-profit agency, we work hard to make smart decisions with the dollars entrusted to us by our customers,” said Board President Lesa McIntosh. “We don’t take the decision to raise rates lightly, but these are challenging times and we have to make difficult decisions in order to support the public health of our East Bay customers.”

These rates will fund the first two years of a five-year $608 million investment in pipeline and distribution system projects – such as the MacArthur-Davenport Pipeline Project in Oakland, replacement of a 1927 large diameter pipeline still in service today. This rate decision will also fund the first two years of a five-year $139 million investment in water treatment plant upgrades – including work at the Upper San Leandro and Sobrante Water Treatment Plants to upgrade ozone. Ozone can assist in managing source water changes that contribute to taste and odor issues. Also planned are treatment additions at Orinda, Walnut Creek, and Lafayette Water Treatment Plants to address disinfection byproduct formation.

Today’s vote follows six months of Board workshops, presentations, discussion and public outreach on EBMUD infrastructure and operational needs that form the basis for the budget and proposed rates.

Water rates will increase by 9.25 percent in FY18 and by 9 percent in FY19, and wastewater rates by 5 percent in FY18 and 5 percent in FY19. The FY18 rates will take effect on July 12, 2017, and the FY19 rates on July 1, 2018.

EBMUD water rates will remain in the lower third of comparable northern California water agencies’ rates. The cost of EBMUD tap water will remain about a penny per gallon.

For the average single-family customer who uses 8 units of water a month, or 200 gallons per day, the bills will rise approximately $4.34 per month this fiscal year, and by $4.63 per month next fiscal year. For wastewater customers, bills will increase by $0.96 per month in fiscal year 2018 and $1.06 per month in fiscal year 2019 for the average wastewater customer. Fifty percent of customers will see increases below this average, and for top users, the increase would be approximately $11 per month.

EBMUD’s largest investment of rate funds will go to replace deteriorating water distribution pipelines, and for rehabilitation of water treatment plants, pumping plants and reservoirs.

Over the next five years, EBMUD’s planned investments include:

  • Pipelines and pressure zone improvements - $608 million
  • Water treatment plant upgrades - $139 million
  • Raw water aqueducts - $104 million
  • Reservoir rehabilitation - $103 million
  • Water recycling - $90 million


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