It’s going to cost more to water the El Dorado Hills Community Services District’s lawn in 2013.
El Dorado Irrigation District General Manager Jim Abercrombie told the EDHCSD Board of Directors last Thursday that the proposed new water rate structure roughly doubles “Recreation Turf” rates to residential levels, starting in 2013.
He blamed the increase on California Proposition 218, which requires a close match between rates and benefits. Last year’s Cost of Service study revealed “Revenue collected from Recreation Turf rates doesn’t pay for the service provided,” he said.
Abercrombie acknowledged the public benefit that the CSD provides, but said, “We have to comply with Prop. 218.”
CSD Assistant General Manager Sandi Kukkola reported that the “Rec Turf” portion of the overall rate is projected to be $59,236 in 2012 and, without water reductions, will jump to $119,521 in 2013, putting the potential cost of the increase at $68,527.
The district’s total 2011 water bill was $135,575, she added. Even without the new Rec Turf rates, which don’t take effect until 2013, the 2012 water charges will likely jump to roughly $141,0000, she said, due to the 2010 rate increase package, which streches over five years.
Without conservation measures the total water bill will increase to $209,560 per year in 2013, according to Kukkola.
To ease the pain EID is partnering with schools and CSDs throughout the county to promote water conservation and has $100,000 in grant money for programs and equipment for its Rec Turf customers.
An El Dorado Hills task force has already formed, and is currently staffed by Kukkola, Park Supervisor Dave Luckscheider, CSD turf guru Gino Sciandri and Recreation Supervisors Frank Sianez and Mike Cottrell.
Interim CSD General Manager Rich Ramirez encouraged the board to seek out members of the public with water experience to participate in the task force.
Former EDHCSD general manager and current board member Wayne Lowery challenged the task force to find additional water savings. “We spent a lot of time and money on this already,” he said.
Ramirez reminded the board not to get ahead of itself, that the task force is currently defining goals and objectives. “The heavy lifting is identifying tasks and strategies.”
Director Bill Vandegrift offered up one low-cost strategy for covering the increase: “rain dances.”
Waste water charges are unaffected by the change to Rec Turf rates.