California Water Rates Rise as Cities Lose Money in Drought

Saving water doesn't always mean saving money in parched California. Millions of Californians expecting relief on their water bills for taking conservation measures instead are finding higher rates and drought surcharges. Water departments are increasing rates and adding fees because they're losing money as their customers conserve. They say they still have to pay for fixed costs including repairing pipelines, customer service and enforcing water restrictions — and those costs aren't decreasing. The financial blow is only expected to grow because Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has ordered communities to slash their water use anywhere between 8 and 36 percent compared to 2013 levels in response to the four-year drought. Those cuts are expected to leave agencies with a $1 billion hole in revenue, and they'll likely turn to customers to plug it, according to state estimates.



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