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Atascadero water bills to go up 15 percent

The average Atascadero water user will see a 15 percent increase in fees starting in February, thanks to a passing vote by the utility's board of directors Wednesday night.

The Atascadero Mutual Water Company's five-member board voted unanimously to approve its staff recommendations of increasing water rates for households and businesses to fund ongoing water costs and help pay for the Nacimiento Water Project.

The utility acquired a 2,000-acre-foot annual share of the lake water that will be ready for its users in April, according to company officials.

The company says it has 10,500 customer accounts that serve a population of about 30,000 people.

For a typical family, it means an increase to $65.90 per month from $56.80 in the summer for 22,000 gallons used; and to $28 per month from $24 in the winter for 7,000 gallons used.

For average commercial users, bills would go to $28 per month from $24 in the summer for 7,000 gallons used; and to $20 per month from $17.20 in the winter for 3,000 gallons used.

The 45-mile, $176 million pipeline will carry millions of gallons of drinking water from Nacimiento Lake to Paso Robles, Atascadero, Templeton, San Luis Obispo and part of Cayucos.

Atascadero's annual debt payment would be about $2.4 million. Pipeline construction wrapped up this fall, and the system is now in the final testing stages. -Tonya Strickland

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