Marin municipal water district could suspend summer discount
The Marin Municipal Water District’s latest strategy to conserve water during what could become its worst drought on record would target taxpayer wallets.
The utility proposes to temporarily suspend its summer tariff structure, which allows its 191,000 customers in the south and center of Marin to use more water during the summer months without having to run into higher tariff levels.
The tariff structure is typically used due to the higher water demand during the summer season, especially for irrigation of outdoor landscapes, which the council recently limited to two days per week. new drought rules.
It’s unclear when the rate proposal will go to the district council for a vote, but the council signaled support for the idea this month.
“I know it’s not going to win a lot of popularity contests, but I think we need to put the summer allowance on hold,” board member Larry Bragman said at his May 18 meeting. the use of irrigation, and here the summer allowance subsidizes it. If you want to talk about mixed messages, that’s it. “
“We’re sending a terrible message by reducing summer usage,” Board member Larry Russell said at the meeting. “I think this is completely the wrong approach.”
The district received about 20 inches of precipitation last winter, its second lowest in 143 years of record breaking. The district’s seven reservoirs in the Mount Tamalpais watershed are less than half full when they would normally be over 90% full at this time of year.
The district enacted mandatory water use restrictions in April for the first time since the late 1980s in response to drought. The district hopes to have 30,000 acre-feet of storage remaining by Dec. 1, which equates to about a year of water use in normal years.
The district pricing structure changes depending on the time of year. During the “summer” months of June through November, customers of a single family home can use up to 2,600 cubic feet of water, or approximately 19,500 gallons, on a bi-monthly basis and stay within the rate level. the lowest of $ 4.36 per cent. cubic feet. During the “winter” months of July through December, customers can only use 2,100 cubic feet of water, or about 15,700 gallons, to stay in the cheapest level. If these amounts are exceeded, the rates rise to $ 7.56 per hundred cubic feet.
Summer rates go into effect on Tuesday.
The council proposes to use the winter tariff structure only during drought. This would require formal notification and a meeting process as required by Proposition 218. Ben Horenstein, district general manager, said a notice of Proposition 218 would likely be sent to clients in June if the board decides. to go ahead with the idea.
“We are in crisis,” Bragman said at the meeting. “And when you’re in a crisis, I think we’ve learned from the pandemic, you’ve got to be a little daring. I think we should take it and do it if we are to achieve our goal. “