Water suppliers for Livermore, Dublin and part of San Ramon have proposed drought rates on homes and businesses that would sharply increase bills for customers who fail to slash their water use by 30 to 35 percent.
The Tri-Valley is the first place in the East Bay where suppliers are considering rationing rather than sticking with voluntary conservation programs. The Tri-Valley's main water source, the State Water Project, has cut its water deliveries to 5 percent of normal this year.
The Dublin San Ramon Community Services District Board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at 7501 Dublin Blvd. to publicly discuss its proposed drought rate increase, aimed at reducing water use 35 percent. A vote will be postponed until May 5 at the earliest.
The Livermore City Council is scheduled to consider and possibly vote on its drought rates at its meeting 7 p.m. April 28, and Pleasanton city staff also are developing proposed drought rates expected to go to that council May 6.
While the different rate proposals vary slightly, they share a goal of using stiffer rates to get people to conserve.
"We want to send a signal to our customers to reduce water use," said Bert Michalczyk, general manager of the Dublin San Ramon Services District, which supplies tap water to 67,000 people in Dublin and San Ramon's Dougherty Valley.
Under the district proposal, a typical household bill over two months would increase from $112.11 to $132.03, a $19.92 increase. The bump would be bigger for those who use more water; small-volume users who continued to hold down water use would be mailed a rebate check for $12 at the end of the year to reward them for their conservation, Michalczyk said.
The Livermore City Council on April 28 will consider raising water rates in an effort to reach a mandatory 30 percent reduction in usage among the 29,000 or so people it serves. Aimed at higher-volume customers, Stage 3 of that city's conservation plan would hike monthly bills from $57.49 to $79.59 for households that use around 11,000 gallons per month and don't reduce consumption, according to the city's public works department.
Average households that use 20 percent less water would see a monthly increase of about $8.53 over normal rates. Customers who reduce usage by 30-35 percent will pay roughly the same per month as before, according to assistant public works director Darren Greenwood.
"If the customer achieves the reduction we're looking for, then it should be a wash," Greenwood said. "If we don't conserve, we won't make it."
For low-volume users, like customers who use about 3,700 gallons per month, bills would go from $27.84 to $34.34 if usage stayed the same, Greenwood said.
The city has targeted a 50 percent reduction in outdoor use and a 5 percent reduction in indoor use.
If passed by the council, the conservation rates would take effect April 29.
The California Water Service Company, which serves about two-thirds of Livermore residents, is also considering a mandatory conservation program, Greenwood said.