San Francisco Declares Water Emergency, 5% Surcharge on Users

The western span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge and San Francisco skyline seen November 2, 2001. Bridge security in California has been stepped up since California Governor Gray Davis announced authorities have received very credible threats that one of California's many suspension bridges may be targeted for terrorist attack …
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The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission voted Tuesday to declare a water shortage emergency amid a crushing drought in the state that threatens water supplies throughout the region, slapping a 5% surcharge on water users in the city.

California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in its history. The drought from 2011- 2017 was so intense that rainy seasons in 2017 and 2018 barely reversed the damage. Mountain snow in 2020 was not enough to fill the state’s reservoirs.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission members voted Tuesday to declare a water shortage emergency and adopt a system-wide reduction in water use of 10%.

They aim to get there by asking city residents and businesses to cut water use by 5% and requesting that more than two dozen agencies in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties that buy water from San Francisco conserve even more by slashing water use by 14%.

The declaration requires the city to levy a temporary surcharge on city users’ water bills of up to 5% — the amount they are asking customers to cut — to ensure rates don’t fall below what it costs for the city to operate its water systems. The surcharge will decrease as citywide water consumption goes down to meet the reduction goal, measured against water use during the fiscal year 2019-2020, a time frame chosen before the pandemic. At most, it is expected to add $6 per month to residential customer bills.

Critics also note that California has done almost nothing to increase reservoir shortage, despite a large budget surplus, and that environmentalists have opposed the expansion of energy-intensive desalination plants, of which there are only a few.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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