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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.