The Metropolitan Water District, the region’s biggest water wholesaler, plans to boost what it charges local water suppliers in the next couple years.
Metropolitan's Board of Directors has approved a budget for the next two years, and part of the plan calls for about a 1.5 percent increase in the price of its water each year.
The budget plans "help ensure that Metropolitan will be able to supply water to nearly 19 million Southern Californians even during severe droughts and reduces pressure on future rate increases by cutting the district’s overall costs,” says Jeffrey Kightlinger, Metropolitan's general manager.
Dozens of agencies across Southern California buy water from Metropolitan, including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Homeowners won’t see immediate changes in water bills as a result of the rate hike; the process of raising rates on the retail level can take several months to a year if local agencies decide to pass along the cost.
The rate hikes come at a time when some local cities and agencies are challenging Metropolitan in court over its financial practices. The San Diego County Water District has sued Metropolitan, alleging it has overcharged Southern California for the water it provides by $350 million.