In Spring 2019, the District completed a comprehensive rate study in accordance with Proposition 218. The study proposed a schedule of water and sewer rates through 2023. On April 23, we mailed a letter and the proposed rates to all of our customers. You can view that letter here. On April 30 and May 1, we held two public meetings to present the rates and answer customer questions. On June 13, 2019, the Board of Directors held a public rate hearing. At that meeting, the Board voted to approve the five-year rate plan. You can view the adopted plan here.
See below for helpful tools and information regarding rates and the rate study.
Click above to see how your monthly bill will change.
Hundreds of considerations go into the cost of delivering water and wastewater services to our customers: purchasing imported water from our wholesalers, Calleguas and Metropolitan; pumping and treating groundwater; moving water uphill and into tanks; collecting and treating sewer flows; producing recycled water; diverting water off the Conejo Creek; maintaining 200-plus miles of pipeline. We also have to plan for major projects we need to do in the coming years and prepare for emergency repairs we can’t count on but need to be ready for. We need to schedule and fund the repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of aging infrastructure and the escalating cost of the products and services we rely on.
A rate study is a collaboration between the General Manager, Camrosa’s financial team, rate experts, and the Board of Directors to determine the cost of delivering water now and into the future.
Doing a rate study is sound financial practice, but it’s also part of our legal responsibilities to our customers. Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act, was adopted by California voters in 1996. It amended the California Constitution to “protect taxpayers by limiting the methods by which local governments exact revenue from taxpayers.”
What this means in practice is that we’re required to notify our customers of rate increases, provide them the opportunity to contest the rates, and demonstrate a nexus between what we’re charging for water and the cost of delivering it. This “cost of service analysis” is a large part of what goes into the rate study.
“Transparency” is more than just a bureaucratic buzzword to Camrosa. We want you to know what goes into your rates—after all, everything we do, we do with your money. We hope this page helps you get an idea of what the rate study looks like and why your water costs what it costs. If you want to read the rate study, you can find it here.
For a graphic overview of what goes into your water rates, see our Camrosa Water District comic book, Water Wise? Water Whys! Come by the office to pick up some hard copies.
Well, that depends.
Camrosa’s water bill is divided in two parts: the fixed charge and the volumetric charge. All three classes of water—potable, nonpotable, and recycled—have these two charges.
The fixed charge covers a portion of the District’s fixed overhead—purchases of imported water, electricity, chemicals. This charge is based on your meter size and is the same every month, whether you use any water or not. This essentially pays for the ongoing expenses of the District’s ability to deliver water to your meter.
The volumetric charge is associated with how much water you use. We charge for each “unit” of water that goes through your meter. A Camrosa “unit” is one hundred cubic feet (HCF), or 748 gallons. Everyone in the District pays the same amount for potable water—except for residential potable water users, whose first 12 units are priced at a discount. This “Tier 1” is what the Board of Directors determined was a basic amount of water necessary for indoor and outdoor uses at the standard house in the District service area. Thirteen units and above are in Tier 2, charged at the same amount as every other potable water use in the District.
The volumetric rate went up July 1, but the fixed rate is going down for some users, so how much your water bill will change depends on what percentage of your monthly bill is fixed versus volumetric.
The other component of many of our customers’ bills is the sewer charge. This is a fixed fee of $33.49 per month and covers the cost of operating and maintaining the sanitary sewer system and the Camrosa Water Reclamation Facility, where we transform wastewater into recycled water, which is used by agricultural customers and CSUCI for irrigation. (Master-metered communities, such as Leisure Village and CSUCI, pay for sewer based on the equivalent dwelling units, or EDUs, in the community. This is also a fixed charge every month.)
Use our ONLINE BILL CALCULATOR tool to see how the rate change will affect your monthly bill.
Like anyone’s home or business, a portion of Camrosa’s expenses are beyond our control: imported water, electricity, gas, health care, etc. But we can control the impact of some of those costs on our budget—and on our customers—by decreasing how much imported water we buy, by increasing our efficiency, and maximizing our productivity. These efforts are foundational to Camrosa’s strategy and have paid significant dividends over the years. In 1997, 85 percent of the water Camrosa delivered was imported water; in 2018, 29 percent was imported. The rest is local water—groundwater, nonpotable creek water, and recycled water—that is both more reliable for being local and cheaper to produce than the cost of buying imported water.
In order to continue this trend of reducing our dependency on imported water, we need to continue building new local projects, proactively maintaining our existing infrastructure, and installing backup power generation in case of emergency interruptions. These things all cost money, but they all save resources in the long run.