As drought drives prices higher, millions of Californians struggle to pay for water, which they’re increasingly paying for through costly water fees.
The price of water in California has risen to more than $10 per year, a new California state study finds, but state officials have been telling residents who pay the heaviest water charges to wait and pay their bills.
The report documents how, as drought continues to push prices higher, people are being charged the most in areas where water is more plentiful.
“In many cases, people who pay the highest prices have the least amount of water to charge the water utility,” the report says, adding that in parts of high-poverty Los Angeles County, a single resident paying the average $180 bill could pay for the same amount with much less water as the utility provides.
The state’s findings were drawn from a new online survey that surveyed nearly 900 households and water customers, and analyzed water pricing at the state and county levels.
Some families who pay the highest water bills are finding water fees in the $15- to $30-per-month range, based on the amount of water used, said Tim Suttin, principal officer of the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s water systems.
State officials have been emphasizing that people who buy water from the most expensive meters can pay less.
“You’re paying a little bit more to have the flexibility to save water,” Suttin said.
This week, the state Board of Administration of the water program, which distributes the money from the water bill to customers, released a report suggesting customers pay more for the water they use. It is intended as a way to help Californians with the growing costs of water, as Californians face one of the driest years on record.
“I know it might seem like the most obvious thing to say, but we need to remember that water is the lifeblood for the people of California