EBMUD votes to approve 13 percent increase in water rates over next 2 years

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The board of the East Bay Municipal Utility District says it's a vital investment in the future, a way to safeguard a water system that serves 1.4 million people daily.

But for some, the district's latest water rate increase is just another slap in the face.

"Part of our job is to make sure we don't have those pipelines breaking," said EBMUD Director John Coleman, who represents much of central Contra Costa County.

The EBMUD board voted to approve a two-year hike of nearly 13 percent to raise $65 million to pay for ongoing computer upgrades and replacement of an aging infrastructure, including the replacement of pipes dating back as much as 100 years.

This photo is an example of a 4" EBMUD pipe, circa 1940.

This photo is an example of a 4" EBMUD pipe, circa 1940.


"The crews that we're adding are going to help us reach our goal of 20 miles of pipe replaced per year, and that's a doubling over a couple years ago," explained EBMUD Finance Director Sophia Skoda.

Rates will increase 6.5 percent this year and then another 6.25 percent next year.

The average household will see its monthly bill increase $3.62 this year and $3.73 next year.

"We're just trying to live. Water is a nature resource. Not something that should have a dollar amount attached, That's not how God intended it to be," said Esther Alene Mathews, an opponent of the rate hikes.

Wastewater rates will also go up by about 4 percent per year. The rate increase will go into effect on July 1, but customers won't likely actually see it on their bills until the end of the summer.

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