21 Aug 2014
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Mayor Larry Kramer responds to an article in the citizen-sponsored "Capistrano Common Sense" newsletter.


I was shocked to read in the “Capistrano Common Sense” that the “City OKs 25.6 Percent Water and Sewer Rate Increase.” So being a homeowner in San Juan Capistrano, I broke out my last water bill (billing date 6/7/2012) and did some calculations.

I live in a fairly typical house. The total bill was for $105.42. The sewer usage charges will go from $23.61 to $27.64 (17.1 percent). The water service charges will go up from $27.81 to $28.64 (3 percent )(1” connection). The 6 units of base tier usage will go up from $3 to $3.09 per unit (3 percent) an increase cost of $0.54.

We used 9 units of Tier 1 water. The cost per unit increased from $4 to $4.12 (3 percent). The additional charge would be $1.08. Totaling it all up would resultin an increased charge of $6.48 per month, which is an overal lincrease of 6.2 percent.

We are quite frugal with our water usage. We are both retired on a fixed income. We have low-flow toilets (the city has a rebate for these). We removed the grass lawn from our backyard this spring and replaced it with decomposed granite, some rocks, stones, a fire pit and native plants. We hand water the plants occasionally.

Metropolitan Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) paid $1 per square foot for removal of grass. We had our irrigation controller replaced at no cost with a “smart” controller, further reducing our water usage. MWDOC paid for this equipment and installation. These are some actions that can be taken to reduce water consumption.

To put the rate increase in perspective, our imported water from Metropolitan Water District (MWD) will be increasing 5 percent on Jan. 1, 2013 and 5 percent on Jan. 1, 2014. Imported water charges have increased 63 percent from January 2007 to January 2012. We have no control over those increases.

These latest rate increases were approved a couple of years ago after a rate study done for the city by Black and Veatch, followed by a public hearing. What was presented to the City Council recently was information about what changes, already approved years ago, would be occurring on July 1. Rate increases have to be based upon a study. We cannot increase the rates without such a study and a public hearing.

So while the cost of water is increasing, it is not increasingby 25.6 percent. For most residents it is increasing by about thesame amount as the increase being passed onto the city by the Metropolitan Water District.

Larry Kramer

Mayor and Resident of San Juan Capistrano

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