Congrats on Saving Water, L.A.: Your Reward Is a Higher Bill

You did it.

You beat the water-saving mandate set by a drought-wary Gov. Jerry Brown. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in summer that Angelenos had been on a three-month streak of saving this precious resource, with 256 million gallons conserved in August alone.

Congratulations. Garcetti described your efforts as "extraordinary."

Your reward is a rate hike. Yes, it's true: The L.A. Department of Water and Power commissioners yesterday voted to increase your water rates. Commissioners call it a Water Rate Adjustment Factor (WRAF), and, yeah, they can do that under a 1991 city ordinance.

The DWP explained the situation in a fact sheet:

As Angelenos use less water, there is less water revenue generated. This year, conservation has reduced projected revenues by $110.7 million. The WRAF will allow the Department to recover costs associated with delivering water to customers, approximately $57.6 million, and still provide savings to ratepayers of $53 million as a result of their reduced consumption. 

Your conservation was putting a dent in the department's vital revenues, officials say. It threatened to deplete "sufficient revenue to run LADWP’s water system," according to the DWP.

Spokeswoman Amanda Parsons flipped the script, however, arguing that customers are still saving cash as they save water.

She noted that without the adjustment, the average customer would have saved enough water to pare $5.06 from her monthly bill compared with the last fiscal year. The rate increase takes that savings down to $3.26. But it's still savings.

"The bills are still lower," she told us. "As long as you're conserving, you're saving."


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