An average residential customer in the Nipomo Community Services District could see water rates rise by more than 30 percent starting July 1, 2015, if a rate increase to pay for construction of a pipeline and water from Santa Maria goes forward.
The services district board on Wednesday will consider approving a water rate study, which would kick off a 45-day window for water customers in the Nipomo district to protest the proposed increase.
A hearing would be held Nov. 21 on the rate increase. The increase would not take effect if a majority of water customers submit written protests.
The Nipomo district broke ground on a pipeline project nearly a year ago that will bring water to the community from Santa Maria. The project is on schedule, district officials said, and water should start flowing by summer 2015.
Nipomo currently relies on groundwater as its sole water source.
The cost of the pipeline and additional water will be shared with the district's neighboring water agencies, including Golden State Water Co., Rural Water Co. and Woodlands Mutual Water Co.
The proposed water increase for Nipomo district customers includes two charges — a monthly fixed charge for the facilities required to bring the water to Nipomo, plus a volume charge for the amount of water used.
District officials estimate that an average customer — someone using 36 units, or 26,928 gallons, every two months — would see his or her water bill increase by about $41, or 34 percent (bills are sent bi-monthly), according to a water study conducted for the district. The district board will also consider lowering its connection charges for new developments hooking up to existing water facilities.
These charges aren’t subject to a public protest and would become effective no later than Jan. 1 if adopted by the district board, according to a staff report.
Any actions imposed by the Nipomo district board would apply only to the district's more than 4,300 customers.
The district board has also decided to hold off on drought-related rate increases until winter or next spring. A drought-related rate increase — described as one tool the board could use to reduce its groundwater pumping — could be put in place only after a severe water shortage condition is declared.
Nipomo Community Services District
Meeting details: 9 a.m. Wednesday at 148 S. Wilson St.
For information: see http://ncsd.ca.gov/