On Thursday, February 9, 2012 The Los Angeles City Council approved an adjustment (rate increase) to the City of Los Angeles’ Water Rate Ordinance, an action that will ensure that LADWP has sufficient revenues to complete upcoming projects necessary to comply with federal and state water quality regulations and meet compliance deadlines. The modifications include a 35-cent increase to the Water Quality Improvement Adjustment Factor, a component of the rate LADWP charges customers for water, which prior to this adjustment was insufficient to fund major legally mandated drinking water quality projects that are the subject of a compliance agreement entered into by the LADWP with the California Department of Public Health and United States Environmental Protection Agency.
“Keeping the water safe for our customers is the Water System’s top priority and to do that we need to comply with drinking water quality regulations,” said LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols. “Water rates in Los Angeles, even with this increase, remain competitive with other utilities in the region while allowing us to proceed with construction of urgently needed drinking water quality projects. It also protects our water customers from paying more over the long-term by avoiding significant penalties and fines that would result from failing to comply with legal mandates. We are grateful to the City Council for recognizing the urgency of this request.”
Compliance with State and Federal water quality regulations requires major investment in LADWP’s water distribution system, including nearly $600 million in new contracts that must be awarded in the next 12 months. The first of these contracts is for the Headworks Reservoir for $218 million, as part of LADWP’s compliance requirement to cover, bypass or remove from service all 10 water reservoirs in the Los Angeles basin. Five have been covered or bypassed to date, and five more remain — including Silver Lake and Ivanhoe, which will be replaced by the Headworks Reservoir.
The modifications to the Water Rate Ordinance approved by City Council today are subject to review by the Mayor, and are expected to take effect in late March 2012.