Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti endorsed a plan Monday that would raise water rates in the city by 4.7 percent annually over the next five years.
With a record drought strangling the state’s water supplies, the L.A. Department of Water and Power (DWP) had proposed a five-year rate hike in July, in part to help pay for aging pipes and water delivery infrastructure.
According to the mayor, typical water customers will pay less than $3 more per year, or about $11 at the end of the five-year period. In a statement, the Mayor said the rate hike was needed to “get our house in order.”
“Since my first day in office, reforming the DWP to increase efficiency and maintain reliability has been a top priority,” Garcetti said. “To do this we need to have an honest conversation about the work that lies ahead, but we must do this in the face of an aging infrastructure and a historic drought that demands swift action.”
“No one likes to raise rates. But the price of inaction will be much higher for all of LA’s residents,” he added.
Garcetti said he had been waiting to endorse the plan until the newly appointed Ratepayer Advocate had approved it. Fred Pickel, ratepayer advocate and executive director of the state Office of Public Accountability, signed off on the plan last week, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The rate hike is reportedly part of a DWP package that would also increase electricity rates. Garcetti has not yet indicated whether he supports the power rate hike portion of the plan.
Los Angeles is not the only city in California that has raised water rates amid the devastating drought; three of the largest water suppliers in the Bay Area had all enacted or considered rate hikes of up to 30 percent last summer. The agencies said rate hikes were needed to combat rapidly declining revenue as customers successfully cut back on water use during the drought.