EBMUD’s board approves significant rate hikes

EBMUD's board approves significant rate hikes
Photo credit: EBMUD

East Bay residents and businesses can expect significant increases to water and wastewater rates over the next two fiscal years.

On Tuesday, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) board of directors voted 5-1 to adopt a $2.3 billion budget that includes over $800 million for what the district called necessary water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

To fund those infrastructure improvements, EBMUD states, water rates will increase 6.5 percent on July 1, 2019, and 6.25 percent on July 1, 2020. On the wastewater side, the typical homeowner will see a 3 percent increase on July 1, and an additional 4 percent increase in 2020, according to East Bay MUD.

How will that impact your bill? Depends on how much water you use, as the district detailed:

An average household using 200 gallons a day will see an increase of $3.62 per month in July 2019, and an additional increase of $3.73 per month the following year,’ East Bay MUD said. “A low water user (100 gallons daily) would see an increase of $2.56 per month for the first year and an additional $2.64 per month starting July 2020. The bill for a high water user (averaging 600 gallons daily) will go up $9.86 per month the first year and an additional $10.05 starting July 2020. For wastewater, the increased charges and fees for the average homeowner will be under $1 per month for FY2020 and an additional $1.24 in FY2021.”

The $800 million in capital improvements in the two-year budget includes $110 million for pipeline replacement in Oakland, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Orinda and Lafayette; $110 million for improvements at waste water treatment plants, pumping plants and local reservoirs in El Sobrante, Oakland, Walnut Creek and Orinda; and $70 million for improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oakland and large sewer interceptors along the waterfront, according to EBMUD.

A typical mile of pipeline costs about $2.5 million to replace, the nonprofit agency said.

Founded in 1923, EBMUD transports fresh water 90 miles from the Mokelumne River watershed in the Sierra Nevada to more than 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The system includes over 4,200 miles of pipes, five local reservoirs, six water treatment plants, 164 water storage tanks and a large wastewater treatment plant at the foot of the Bay Bridge.

“Our infrastructure would weaken without crucial repairs and upgrades,” Board President Marguerite Young said. “Our focus is ensuring this system, the lifeblood of the East Bay, continues to operate for another 100 years.”