Glendale Water & Power and the Drought
The State of California is in the fourth year of one of the most severe droughts ever recorded. In the last few months, records have been set for the highest temperatures and driest conditions for this time of year. This has prompted Gov. Brown to issue several executive orders including mandatory conservation provisions. All Californians need to take immediate action to change water usage patterns as we are faced with another record setting drought year.
The Metropolitan Water District is also poised to implement an allocation plan for its members (including the City of Glendale) this summer. As cities and water suppliers throughout the state scramble to respond to these mandates, the City of Glendale has continued to steadily take the appropriate action through programs and policies aimed to specifically reduce the amount of water we use. While there is no question that we must do more in the way of water conservation, Glendale is well ahead of many cities due to the foresight of our city council and the dedication of our customers to conserve.
In addition to our conservation programs, Glendale Water & Power developed a tiered water rate structure that was approved by the city council and which took effect on Sept. 1, 2014. This tiered rate structure was designed to ensure fair and equitable rates necessary to maintain the critical infrastructure and administer the ongoing operations of the water division. GWP consultants studied our rates in their entirety to ensure the continued provision of quality water and quality services to all Glendale Water customers. The tiered rate structure was developed in accordance with the requirements of Proposition 218 ensuring that all charges are based on actual service provision and that no one category of user subsidizes another. The structure covers fixed and variable costs associated with water delivery during normal climatic conditions.
Directly tied to the implementation of the mandatory water conservation measures is a separate drought fee. The drought fee is temporary and only used in these emergency drought situations to keep the utility financially solvent. The drought fee as mentioned goes into effect upon adoption of the mandatory conservation provisions (Phase’s II through V) of the Ordinance. The Glendale City Council declared Phase II Mandatory Water Conservation on July 29, 2014; however, in an effort to assist customers, had suspended the drought charge for six months. On April 28, 2015, City Council declared Phase III Mandatory Water Conservation in response to the ongoing unprecedented drought conditions and suspended the Phase III drought charge for another six months, keeping customers at the current Phase II drought charge.
The purpose of the drought charge is twofold. First, to recover revenue shortfalls resulting from lower water sales directly related to conservation, and second to promote targeted reductions in water consumption during periods of mandatory conservation. Customers that meet the usage reductions set during each phase of mandatory conservation will generally not see an increase in their water bill. The drought charge is applied equally to all water consumed and is not related to the tier levels.
During this period of prolonged drought, we all need to do our part to ensure that we have the water necessary to sustain our community. We thank all of our residents for their part in helping the state, the Southern California region, and the City of Glendale to get through this drought. We look forward to working with our residential and business community to assist with water conservation. In that regard we have many tools and programs to assist our customers to meet our water conservation goals. Please visit www.GlendaleWaterAndPower.com for more information. Every drop counts.
Stephen M. Zurn, General Manager
Glendale Water & Power