Survey Examines California Water Rates

The average rates charged for water service in California increased by nearly 17 percent in the past three years, according to a recent survey conducted by the Black & Veatch Enterprise Management Solutions (EMS) Division.

The average rates charged for water service in California increased by nearly 17 percent in the past three years, according to a recent survey conducted by the Black & Veatch Enterprise Management Solutions (EMS) Division.

The 2006 California Water Charge Survey examined water rates and connection fees for residential customers in 453 cities and water districts in California. Among its many features, the survey analyzes trends in rates, rate structures and connection fees.

The trends of increasing water rates and connection fees can be attributed to an aging infrastructure and rising construction costs, according to Ann R. Bui, Senior Consultant with Black & Veatch.

Among the study’s findings is that the average residential monthly charge, for 1,500 cubic feet of water a month, increased from $30.33 in 2003 to $36.39 in 2006. This is a total 16.7 percent increase during the three-year period.

The study also concluded that “many of the water facilities and transmission lines currently in place were designed decades ago and are not adequate for today’s water demands,” said Bui. “As a result, cities and other water purveyors find an increasing need to replace and/or expand facilities.”

Rising construction costs, as a result of price increases for raw materials and labor shortages in the construction industry, are passed on to water customers in the form of higher connect charges and fees, Bui added.

The survey, the only one of its scope on California water charges, is provided free to government agencies and news media and is available at $25 a copy to other interested parties. To obtain a copy of the survey contact Ann Bui at (213) 312-3300 or via email at bui@bv.com.

Black & Veatch Corporation is a global engineering, consulting and construction company specializing in infrastructure development in energy, water, information and government markets. Enterprise Management Solutions (EMS) is the management consulting division of Black & Veatch. More information on EMS is available at www.bv.com/consult.

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