S.D. city council approves water rate increase


The San Diego City Council today approved two water rate increases to cover the higher cost of imported water and to fund a sewage recycling study.

With no discussion, the council voted 5-3 in favor of the rate increases.

Councilmen Kevin Faulconer, Tony Young and Brain Maienschein cast the dissenting votes.

A public hearing on the water rate hikes was held Monday, but a vote was put off until today to give Councilwoman Donna Frye, who had been out sick, a chance to weigh in.

The first rate increase is intended to offset the higher cost of imported water from the San Diego County Water Authority, the agency from which the city buys the bulk of its water.

That increase will amount to about $3.31 extra per month for the average single-family customer.

The other hike will pay for an already approved $11.8 million, one-year wastewater recycling pilot project to test the feasibility of using recycled sewage to supplement San Diego’s drinking water supplies.

The project has been labeled “toilet-to-tap’’ by its detractors, but supporters argue that recycled water is a safe way to bolster San Diego’s dwindling reservoirs.

The rate increase, which will expire after the cost of the project has been recouped, will amount to $1.19 for the average single-family residential water user in San Diego.

The higher fees will take effect Jan. 1.