It has been ten years since San Diego has seen an increase in wastewater rates, but the city is proposing a rate increase over the next four years of 5% starting in January 2022, up to 4% in 2023 and 2024 and up to 3% in 2025 and 2026. Additionally, the Public Utilities Department is proposing a rate hike in water and sewer services of 2%.
The motivating forces behind the rate increases are the same for countless water utilities across the country: maintenance, upgrades and future projects. The Public Utilities Department of San Diego serves over 3,400 miles water pipelines, 3,000 miles of sewage pipes and a customer base of over 2.2 million. In addition to the necessary and costly maintenance and upgrades to infrastructure, the city imports nearly 90% of its water, most of it obtained from the San Diego County Water Authority. Although the CWA has increased its cost in recent years, the city has not passed those cost increases onto customers until now.
The rate increases will also benefit future water projects such as Pure Water. Pure Water San Diego is a program that will “use proven water purification technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality drinking water,” providing one-third of the water to the city locally by 2035. Shauna Lorance, director of the PUD, stated, “The good news is that the Pure Water program is projected to provide long-term savings for sewer services because we will no longer need to pay for costly upgrades to our existing treatment plant.”
The proposed increases will be presented on April 7 to the City Council’s Budget and Government Efficiency committee, and the full vote is likely to occur in September.
 “Pure Water San Diego.” The City of San Diego, www.sandiego.gov/public-utilities/sustainability/pure-water-sd.
 Service, City News. “San Diego Proposes Increasing Sewer, Water Rates.” FOX 5 San Diego, FOX 5 San Diego, 25 Mar. 2021, fox5sandiego.com/news/local-news/san-diego-proposes-increasing-sewer-water-rates/.
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