L.A.’s quest for water leaves costly bill: Higher rates for customers, choking air pollution, and more.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power faces the steepest increase in rates possible for the city’s customers under the utility’s 2007 rate increase approved by the City Council earlier this week. The increases, which range from 25 percent to 67 percent, will come on top of a 25 percent rate increase passed by the council last year.
In exchange for passing the increases, the city and utility are trying to keep the line from breaking at a street level. The line breaks if the water pressure falls below the city’s 1,600-hPa minimum.
City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, chairman of the Utilities Committee, says the city is at risk of losing the city’s contract to clean up the sewer line that feeds the water treatment plant, which will cost between $5 million and $10 million.
“They’re going to bring in state contractors after the fact and it’s going to be a huge financial burden for the city,” he said.
On top of that, the state estimates that its new water rate will be about $150 million higher than expected.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has been struggling to meet demands for water in Southern California. The Department of Water and Power is one of the oldest water system operators in California, and the largest single user of water in the state. In recent months, the Department has had to ration water to meet a 15-day state-ordered water supply that has been delayed, then extended, then cancelled.
The problems have come in the form of a drought and a drought-like, or “brown” water supply that has brought its own problems. In the city’s south end, the water supply from the city’s municipal water system is not enough to meet residents’ needs.
The city also has had to deal with an unusual problem in the north, where the city’s water system, which is made up of two tunnels, one across Los Angeles River and one under the city, has been running dry for the past several years. The lack of water has forced the city to increase water rates by 15 percent, and in recent weeks the rate has gone up again due to a new law that allows utilities to charge customers based on whether or not the water supply is depleted.
“L.A. is facing an extremely severe drought that