Water Authority votes to hike rates by 7 percent - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Water Authority votes to hike rates by 7 percent; Sanders says customers won't see increase

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Water Authority voted Thursday to increase water rates by more than 7 percent, but San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said the hike will not be passed on to customers.

The CWA's rate increase was part of a $1.42 billion budget passed by the Board of Directors.

That's a 16 percent decrease from what was previously planned in a two-year outlook, and includes a $235 million drop in capital spending. The CWA also will lower department operating costs by 7 percent and eliminate the equivalent of 31 full-time positions.

The agency takes water from the main Southern California wholesaler, the Metropolitan Water District, and passes it down to 24 member districts, such as the city of San Diego and Padre Dam Water District.

Sanders said the city will have to absorb $8.75 million in additional water costs.

"The cost of water is an enormous concern for everyone in this city, from the families trying to keep their households solvent to the businesses struggling through the worst economy since the 1930s," Sanders said. "We are doing everything in our power to postpone any future water-rate increases as long as possible."

Sanders said the city's Public Utilities Department is taking steps to hold the line on its costs. He accused the MWD of artificially increasing the water bills of San Diegans.

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