by Jim Nintzel
As you may have heard, Tucson Water is still facing a financial struggle, caused by a combination of (a) the crash of the homebuilding industry, (b) the weather and (c) the ongoing economic crisis, which is making people think they should conserve water to save money. (I've been told that one woman called Tucson Water to ask how much it cost to fill her bathtub because she thought cutting back on bathing would make a difference in her monthly bill.)
But when we use less water, our rates have to go up because the city needs enough money to run the utility. It's a pretty fraked-up incentive model, huh?
Regular TW contributor Dave Devine has been following the Citizens Water Advisory Committee as they've wrestled with the rates in recent weeks. He reports that this week, CWAC recommended that the City Council hike rates by 10 percent in the upcoming fiscal year. (Keep in mind that the increase will be spread over a tiered rate structure in which the heaviest users pay more than the average household, so your bill will not necessarily jump by 10 percent.)
The City Council is scheduled to talk about the recommendation at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 3, with a final decision three weeks later.
CWAC also supports raising a water conservation fee of 3 cent per Ccf unit by a penny per unit.