Officials from the city of Chula Vista and the Otay Water District held a press conference Wednesday morning at City Hall to discuss San Diego’s proposal for a recycled water rate increase.
The city of San Diego has proposed a unitary recycled water rate increase from 80 cents to $1.73 per hundred cubic feet, which Otay Water and Chula Vista officials say is unfair and inequitable.
But officials understand that fees need to increase.
“No one disputes that recycled water rates need to rise,” said Mitch Thompson, vice chair for the Otay Water District. “Everybody is in agreement that that is the case.”
Instead, Chula Vista and Otay officials urge the city of San Diego to approve the zone rate alternative for the recycled water rate increase, which would increase Otay’s rate from 80 cents to $1.17, a 147 percent increase.
Jose Lopez, president of the Otay Water District said the unitary rate increase is not based on the cost to serve the Otay Water District. Lopez said it is inequitably based on the cost to serve a separate set of customers connected to a separate recycled water system in the north.
The city of San Diego did a study that shows the cost of the city of San Diego to service the north San Diego to be about $2.14 HCF. The cost of city of San Diego to service the South Bay is $1.17 HCF. Therefore the city’s proposed unitary rate forces the South Bay to pay more than the cost to serve the South Bay in order to subsidize the North City, who would pay less than what it costs to serve north San Diego.
Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said she opposes the city of San Diego’s proposal because it overcharges the South Bay in order to subsidize and undercharge the city of San Diego itself and other recycled wayer customers in the north.
“Their rates for recycled water should be based on the cost to operate the plant that serves them,” the mayor said.
“That is not the what the city of San Diego proposes. What they have proposed is a single rate that unfairly overcharges the South Bay so they can undercharge recycled water customers in the north.”
A $1.73 recycled water increase would cost the city of Chula Vista an extra $140,000 a year, the Chula Vista Elementary School District $260,000 a year and South Bay residential customers $800,000 a year. In contrast, the Torrey Pines Golf Course will save $109,000 a year, San Diego Parks and Recreation $217,000 a year and the Santaluz Golf Course will save $95,000 a year. The San Diego City Council will vote on the proposal Nov. 17.