Grover Beach residents will see their water rates increase in two phases over the next eight months.
The City Council voted 3-2 to raise the rates 15 percent in August and an additional 15 percent in March. Council members Robert Mires and Debbie Peterson dissented.
City officials say the increase is needed in large part to pay for the city’s share of $26 million in upgrades at the Lopez Lake reservoir.
The city, which receives 36 percent of its water supply from the lake east of Arroyo Grande, will pay the county $1.2 million this fiscal year for the upgrades.
Customers who have a 1-inch meter and using 22 units of water in a two-month period would see the bimonthly water portion of the bill increase to $83.06 from $65.30, or by $8.88 a month.
When it last met, on June 21, the council had considered a 30 percent increase that would have taken effect this month, plus a 2 percent increase in July 2011.
Under that proposal, the rates would have increased to $94, or by $14.35 a month.
But the city had received 71 written protests to the rate increases. So the council told city staff to come back with a phased approach to the water rates.
The city must borrow about $380,000 from two separate funds to replenish the money in its water fund and meet its obligations.