EID relaxes winter sewer rates

At its Jan. 23 meeting the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors voted unanimously to direct staff to use the lower of the last two years — either 2011 or 2012 — of winter water usage billing cycles to establish a customer’s 2012 sewer commodity rate.

This one-time exception to the district’s regulations, initiated by George Wheeldon, Division 4, has been made due to the unusually dry winter so far, as evidenced by the snow survey conducted by the California Department of Water Resources. Because of the dry conditions, some customers have found it necessary to increase their irrigation frequency.

“I think this is such an unprecedented event that we need to do something about this and make a one-time exception to our regulations. When you look at the historical rainfall dating back the last ten years in the month of December, it clearly shows that this year has been, by far, drier than any other year in recent history,” said Wheeldon.

“In 2003 we had 12.93 inches as compared to December 2011, where we only had 0.03 inches,” he explained. “As a result of these unusual circumstances, staff will be manually reviewing every single residential sewer account and will automatically enter the lower usage of the last two water years, unless there are unusual circumstances requiring staff to contact customers to obtain more information before a determination is made.”

Residential wastewater rate calculations are performed annually, based on water consumption that occurs during a two-month winter billing cycle between November and February of each year. These calculations are based on winter water usage under the assumption that during the winter months, little outside irrigation is occurring.

During last year’s wet winter this assumption was definitely true. But in this year’s dry winter weather many district customers, especially those in the lower elevations, have felt it necessary to irrigate and some weather-based irrigation controllers are calling for water for some plant types. For new customers, the lesser of the flat rate or first full billing cycle will be used until a winter billing cycle is established.

The district will notify customers of this one-time exception to the sewer rate-setting method in a variety of ways, including e-mail sent to those customers who have provided their e-mail address; notices in the Waterfront newsletter; notices on upcoming customer billing statements; automated calls to customer homes; and notices on the district’s website.

Customers may also contact customer services at (530) 642-4000 for more information.

This option applies only to customers who do not receive recycled water.

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Posted by on Jan 31 2012.
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