Santee Water Rates May Rise as Much as Five Percent

The Metropolitan Water District raises the cost of water, but Padre Dam General Manager says the local rate raise may be less.

The bad news is that our water rates will go up.

The good news is, not as much as we thought they would.

I honestly don’t know whether to call this a win, a loss, or maybe a tie.

If you read the we’ve been running- the one about the Metropolitan Water District’s board meeting last Tuesday, then you know the Met board decided to raise its wholesale water rates by only 5 percent for the 2013 year, and another five percent for the next year.

This was, as usual, over the strident objections of the San Diego County Water Authority, the agency from which we buy our water from .

SDCWA had been campaigning long and hard for only a 3 percent increase both years, saying Met could easily cut a lot of fat from its budget- a position with which Met, not surprisingly, disagrees.

Met had actually wanted a 7.5 percent hike this year, followed by 5 the year after.

So, where does this leave us here at the very end of the water tap?

We don’t know yet, but we can guess.

We don’t yet know what SDCWA will end up charging us for the water, but it’s worth noting that SDCWA is on record as saying it will have to pass through to Padre Dam and the other districts it serves virtually all of the 5 per cent increase from Met.

Padre Dam General Manager Allen Carlisle holds out a little bit of hope.

“The impact on our rates is unknown until the SDCWA determines what its rates are going to be, because SDCWA has other sources of water," said Carlisle.

In this case, the other sources likely refer to water we can get from Imperial Valley.

”Typically, a 5 per cent increase from a wholesaler would have a smaller impact on the average Padre Dam customer," said Carlisle.

“Padre Dam’s board of directors will consider rates, including pass-throughs from SDCWA and Net, later this year when they consider the District’s new five-year plan. Until we have determined what our internal increase may be, we will not know what the impact of of pass-through increases will have on the average customer.”

All of this, of course, depends on how much water we use.

On how much of our aging infrastructure needs repair or replacement.

On whether Padre Dam employees can .

Remember, measures we all practiced caused a to Padre Dam.

Carlisle says the District is planning to continue the concept of “living within the household budget” writ large- not spending more money than it actually takes in.

A whole lot is still very much unknown about all this.

Time will tell.

Maybe for now I’ll call it a tie, while acknowledging the game is far from over.

We’re not even out of the first quarter yet.

J.T. April 18, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I wonder why water is so expensive. It can't be that we live in a desert can it?
Shirley April 18, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Our water is already expensive enough
Sunshine April 18, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Padre Dam is ripping off Santee residents. We have the highest water rates in San Diego. I have lived in my home for over 20 years and this is the highest we have ever paid for water. My water bill is $250.00 to $300.00 every two month. And trust me, I am the "Water Police" in my home. I am constantly on everyones back to conserve water, take shorter showers, only wash full loads, etc... Yet, the employees of Padre Dam are raking in big salaries, while us struggling homeowners and trying to pay our bill and keep our grass somewhat green.
Albert June 30, 2012 at 05:12 AM
I moved to Santee in January and felt foolish because I was caught off guard by the high water rates. I understand our water is pumped in. Yet the streets are designed the same old way; pave it, push the rain into concrete culverts and towards the ocean. I also am a professional rainwater harvest person based in Santee with a struggling business. This is the key, or would be if they didn't raise the rates the more we conserve. It is clear the water managers and city officials have one goal in mind, and that is to extract as much revenue as possible from us. We should each commit to getting rid of grass and turf, doing our hards in all drought resistant plants and xeriscape and capturing water from our roofs when it rains. Don't pipe your downspouts to the curb, pipe them to a central point in the yard and use an emitter or french drain so the water goes in the ground and not to the blacktop to speed towards the ocean packed with cigarette buts and trash. I do free consultations on water harvesting and simple gray water systems. This is the future. Please check out my micro-business at www.rain-watersystems.com
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