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At the Rancho Murieta Community Services District workshop Wednesday, a crowd of about 18 residents made it clear they weren’t sold on the idea of promoting water conservation by raising water rates, and the five board members seemed to distance themselves from the tiered pricing plan. What got ratepayers’ attention was the July CSD bill, which compared what they’re currently paying with what they would pay if tiered pricing rates were in effect.

The tiered pricing proposal focuses on water use outside the home, which is 55 percent of total water use. Since the highest water usage occurs in July, many residents saw increases in the sample bill well beyond the projected annual average of 20 percent.

To some audience members, it seemed like the CSD was making a grab for more money during bad economic times. Others said alternative conservation measures should be tried first, and some argued there is no need to conserve water because the community has adequate stores in its reservoirs.

General Manager Ed Crouse said the mandate to conserve 20 percent statewide by 2020 means the Sacramento area will have to conserve 31 percent of its water because “we have one of the highest consumption uses in California.” 

Ed Crouse

CSD General Manager Ed Crouse handled the bulk of the presentation.

The tiered pricing proposal makes a distinction between necessary water use and discretionary use. The first tier is based on average indoor water use. This tier reduces water cost. The second tier combines indoor and outdoor use, and increases the rate, and the third is the highest level of usage with the highest rate.

The board is scheduled to consider whether to proceed with the tiered rate structure at its September meeting. “This was the first step that the board thought was appropriate. They may rethink it,” Crouse said.

He said an alternative would be to postpone tiered pricing and see if voluntary conservation efforts emerge over the next year, which is one of the suggestions made from the audience during the meeting's give-and-take, which dominated the session.

“I think this dialogue should continue. ... Stay tuned,” said President Bobbi Belton.

No one in the crowd expressed support for the CSD's proposal, and neither did any board member.  CSD directors and staff referred to the proposal as only an idea, the starting point for conversation and just a follow-through on last year's work.

As the meeting meandered to a close after more than two hours, Director Bob Kjome remarked that when he saw the rate structure in June, “I figured it was dead meat. ... It’s going to be dependent on more growth. ... It was a good exercise to tell you what the usages are and look at ways of conservation. It was a bit of electroshock therapy, but we’re going to be moving towards healing.”

Live-blog coverage of the meeting is below:



Michelle Petro's picture
Joined: 09/02/2007
Posts: 99
Post rating: 39

Thanks RM.com

Thanks for the play by play on the  CSD Water Workshop.  It is almost as good as being there!  

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
Post rating: 1387

Popular blog

Thanks, Michelle.  About 125 people looked in on the blog during the meeting.

Jacque Villa's picture
Joined: 07/11/2009
Posts: 539
Post rating: 701

CSD Meeting

Thank you Karen and Ralph for being there and giving us all the on the spot news of the meeting. We appreciate you.

T. Hanson's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 318
Post rating: 474

CSD Water and Developers

Mr. Crouse, highest paid hydrologist, get real. You state proposed H2O tiered pricing and so-called conservation, will raise water levels at Calero, Chesbro and Clementia by X feet. Scientist Archimedes says water seeks its own levels. Since your straw in the Cosumnes, by your own admission,  pumps the water to Calero, which then flows down to Chesbro, and then down to Clementia for treatment and use, is this an admission you can't already pump enough from the Cosumnes to keep the lakes at top levels, even for status quo? As early as year 2000, parallel to, and embracing new developer presentations, you were touting that we have all the water we need, and can pump all we need for expansion/buildout. By the way, at that time you made no mention of required sewage/treatment plant millions$ needed for expansion/upgrade, and you continued this tirade through the ensuing 8+years of County hearings on the development projects. And now you hang your diverted hat on some obtuse, vague requirement to satisfy a proposed 2020 Assembly Bill and accompanying Governor proposed initiative for conservation by 2020. The great majority of Assembly and Senate Bills never become law. And then you have the gall to throw in the totally unrelated unscientific Global Warming issue as a reason to stick us with a 20% average increase now in our CSD bills. Which developers and "promises to cover their backs" are you dancing to, on our backs?   

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