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When saving… isn’t.


Southern California residents have suffered through some pretty hefty water rate hikes. It seems like every bill has a brand spanking new price tag.

Residents in our area are often sent letters asking to reduce water use. Thanks to ‘Navy showers’, reduction in roommates, and landscaping akin to the dust bowl, we personally cut our water usage by 50%. According to water company reports, our fellow residents cut their water usage by nearly 10%.

I received a letter titled ‘Water Rate Increase’ with my bill. The water company is raising rates in part because of… get this…

Lower water sales.

Um. Didn’t you ask me to stop using water? And now I have to pay more because I actually stopped using it?

Our 50% reduction in water usage resulted in… a bill that was 5.5% less than last month’s.

Striking oil in California won’t make you rich – but striking water just might.

It’s times like these that you just have to laugh.


  • Reply Symptoms Of Panic Attacks |

    I just read your post and it made me laugh; I know that it is not funny. However companies always seem to find a way to get you; I do not believe that the consumer will ever win!

  • Reply Money Beagle |

    That’s pretty standard, and I had the same thing happen here in Michigan. There are a lot of fixed costs associated with water and sewage, as it’s probably one of the more ‘infrastructure heavy’ commodities out there. The pipes need to be upkept. The pumps need to be kept on and working. The control systems and monitoring systems need to stay running. If, say, electric usage went down enough, you could end up shutting off a power plant, but you really can’t shut a portion of your water system down, so this actually makes sense. But you’re right, it does suck.

  • Reply sandra jensen |

    Ack! Well, at least you are making the cuts – your neighbors don’t have a clue – yet!

  • Reply Cassie |

    Yikes, they really are jerks, aren’t they? Sorry for the bad news! But you’re right, you’ve just gotta laugh about it. 🙂

  • Reply Christina |

    Times like these make me very happy that we live in a rural area and have our own water well and septic system. Sorry for your bad news.

  • Reply mv |

    Oh, my SoCal neighbors (SF Bay Area here), it’s not just you. We got hit with the same exact thing. Last summer, it was all about rationing, and getting hit with extra charges if you didn’t. It was a ‘cross-the-board’ reduction, so those who already had reduced their water usage had to reduce more, or pay higher fees. Well, guess what? Just like you in SoCal, because the Water utility mandated, or strongly urged, rationing (don’t recall which), and we all complied, they had lower water sales. Which, you guessed it, resulted in a subsequent increase in rates.

    As the saying goes: Can’t win for losing.

  • Reply Melanie |

    Charlotte, NC had the same thing happen last year. There was an awful drought in 2007, and everyone was put on Stage 3 water restrictions (or worse) and everyone was told to savesavesave their water. The next spring, there was a rate hike because of lost profits due to decreased usage. So insane.

  • Reply Stefanie |

    Our water bill is going up (in Southern Maryland) because so many people either can’t (out of work) or won’t (foreclosed upon and in the midst of leaving) pay their bills. Sigh. That’s life.

  • Reply Christine |

    Ya, I just got my bill. It was $10 higher than last month. And last month’s was $10 higher than before. And we haven’t used an ounce more water than we did last year.

    Being sucked dry, I tell you! Totally unfair to us So. Cal resident. *hmph*

So, what do you think ?