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Rate Increases

New Water and Wastewater Rates Effective Jan. 1, 2023

On Jan. 1, 2023, a pass-through charge from the San Diego County Water Authority (CWA) of 2.5% goes into effect to pay for increases in the cost of imported water supplies. The City currently imports as much as 90% of its water, which is purchased from CWA. CWA considers rate adjustments every year and its board approved its next rate adjustment on June 23, 2022, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Also, wastewater rates increase by 4% on Jan. 1, 2023. The increase will help the City continue to upgrade core infrastructure by replacing aging pipes and wastewater mains and fund investments like Pure Water. The change to your City of San Diego Public Utilities bill will vary based on your type of account (commercial, residential, etc.) and your use of the wastewater system. Following PDF icon cost of service study on wastewater (sewer) rates, on Sept. 21, 2021, the City Council approved a four-year consecutive rate increase starting with 5% in 2022, up to 4% in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, and up to 3% in fiscal years 2025 and 2026.

Decreasing Your Water Usage

To decrease your water usage, you can use water more efficiently, repair leaks and ensure that you have the most efficient plumbing fixtures and toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and shower heads. The Public Utilities Department offers all kinds of tips, hints, programs and rebates to help you save water. For more information, visit: wastenowater.org.

Annually, from November through April, the City monitors the amount of water each customer uses for wastewater billing because that is when the highest percentage of water used is returned to the sewer system. The City monitors your water usage during two billing cycles and uses the total from the cycle with the least amount of usage to calculate your sewer rate. By conserving water during the winter monitoring period, you can lower your sewer rate during the following year.

Also, some San Diego residents may qualify for MAAC’s Low Income Household Water Assistance Program.

 

2023 Proposed Rate Increases

The City of San Diego is beginning the process to consider potential water rate increases. As such, the City conducted a PDF icon cost-of-service study of water rates to evaluate future revenue requirements. The study found that if the City’s water rates remain unchanged, there will not be enough revenue to provide necessary water services between fiscal years 2024 and 2025.

The Public Utilities Department is intending to take the proposed cost of service study to the City Council's Budget and Government Efficiency Committee, have an independent review completed by the City’s Independent Budget Analyst in the winter and do additional customer outreach in the winter and spring before the item is brought to a vote of the full City Council.

Additional resources will be posted on this webpage as they become available.

 

2022 Rate Increases

The City of San Diego requested authority to a pass-through charge from the San Diego County Water Authority (CWA) to pay for an increase in the cost of imported water rates up to 3% beginning Jan. 1, 2023. 

The City currently imports as much as 90% of its water, the bulk of which is purchased from CWA. CWA considers rate adjustments every year and its board approved its next rate adjustment on June 23, 2022, effective Jan. 1, 2023. CWA rate study has cited changes in the cost of water importation and energy prices as the driving forces behind its PDF icon rate adjustment.

Proposed water rate increases were presented to the City Council’s Budget and Government Efficiency Committee on June 22, 2022. The rate increase was approved by the City Council at a public hearing on Sept. 20, 2022.

Below is the Proposition 218 notice which was mailed to all City water customers to inform them of the proposed rate increases. There are also translations of the notice in five additional languages.

 

2021 Rate Increases

For the first time in 10 years, the City of San Diego increased wastewater rates, by 5%, starting in January 2022. In addition, a pass-through charge from the San Diego County Water Authority to pay for an increase in the cost of imported water increased water rates 3% beginning in January 2022.construction crew installing new sewer main pipeline

The rate adjustment increases revenue 5% for sewer services and will help the City continue to upgrade core infrastructure by replacing aging pipes and sewer mains. It also funds investments like Pure Water, a landmark water recycling project that will increase the supply of local drinking water, avoid wastewater treatment cost increases and reduce discharges to the ocean.

The changes to water and sewer bills vary based on the type of account (residential, commercial, etc.) and the use of the wastewater system.

The City currently imports as much as 90% of its water, the bulk of which is purchased from the San Diego County Water Authority (CWA). While the costs of purchasing water from CWA have risen over the past several years, the City is passed on a rate adjustment for the first time in two years of approximately 3% starting in 2022. Water and sewer rates in San Diego are comprised of base fees and usage charges for various customer classes.

The City conducted a PDF icon cost of service study on wastewater (sewer) rates to evaluate future revenue requirements for operating and capital costs. The study found that if the City’s sewer rates remain unchanged, there will not be enough revenue to provide necessary wastewater and recycled water services between fiscal years 2022 and 2025. As a result, Public Utilities proposed a four-year consecutive rate increase starting with 5% in 2022, up to 4% in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, and up to 3% in fiscal years 2025 and 2026.

Proposed water and wastewater rate increases were presented to the City Council’s Budget and Government Efficiency Committee on April 7, 2021.

On July 8, 2021, the City released PDF icon an addendum to the cost of service study that incorporated all of staff’s recommended changes to the cost of service study, as presented to the Council's Budget Committee on June 23, 2021. The cost of service study with the addendum is the final document used to calculate the noticed proposed rate changes.

PDF icon The City Council approved the rate increases on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021

For more information:

Below is the Proposition 218 notice which has been mailed to all City water and wastewater customers to inform them of the proposed rate increases. There are also translations of the notice in five additional languages.

Public Forums

In order for the public to have opportunities to receive answers to questions about the proposed rate increases, several community forums were held virtually during the months of July, August and September 2021. Answers to many of the questions asked at the forums are provided in the linked document below. Also, click to watch a recording of the Sept. 2, 2021, public forum provided in English and Spanish.

Additional Documents Concerning the Wastewater Cost of Service Study