LOS ANGELES — Water-hogging customers in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power service area will see higher bills this year.
Effective Jan. 1, LADWP began charging its heaviest water users as much as $3.60 more for every 748 gallons they take from their taps. Water bills for customers who use lower amounts will stay roughly the same as last year.
The Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved the rate changes last September to reflect increasing water supply costs from high-use customers, the agency said. Despite December’s rainstorms, LA continues to face exceptionally dry conditions in the new year.
“The drought conditions the city is facing are serious despite recent wet conditions,” said Anselmo Collins, senior assistant general manager of LADWP’s water system, in a statement.
In August, the U.S. Department of the Interior declared the first-ever shortage for the Colorado River Basin, where reclamation projects at Lake Mead and Lake Powell are at historically low elevations. The Colorado River aqueduct supplies 25% of the region’s water.
In October, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a drought emergency declaration for the entire state, asking residents to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 15% compared with 2020.
In November, the Metropolitan Water District declared a regional drought emergency calling on member agencies, including LADWP, to review the adequacy of their drought response measures and to immediately implement conservation requirements to reduce their usage from the State Water Project.
In December, the State Water Project announced a 0% water allocation for 2022 beyond what is needed for health and safety. The State Water Project is one of LA’s water sources.
“As we urge Angelenos to step up their conservation efforts, the water rate changes further encourage and incentivize water conservation while ensuring rates remain relatively the same for customers who use the least amount of water,” Collins said.
LADWP has already been abiding by two emergency water conservation ordinances since the city last experienced a severe drought in 2009. Under those ordinances, residents are not allowed to let water flow off their property, to hose off their driveways and sidewalks and are limited to three days of outdoor watering per week as long as it happens before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m.