4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Liquid loophole?

Lawyer files suit rejecting tiered water rates that affect heavy users

Heavy water users opposed to statewide conservation efforts are using California's Proposition 218 as a tool to undermine water agencies' pricing tiers, which charge more to higher-consumption customers. The measure, passed in 1996, requires voter approval of "tax, assessment, fee and charge increases" by state and local government agencies.

Last April, an appellate court found tiered water rates charged in San Juan Capistrano to be unconstitutional. Following that decision, local resident Mark Coziahr last week launched a class-action suit against Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority, and Otay Water District, which serves a large swath of East County and South County.

Coziahr's argument hinges on a portion of the measure's text, which reads "Revenues derived from the fee or charge shall not exceed the funds required to provide the property related service."

Both Metropolitan and Otay (though not the San Diego County Water Authority) have three rate tiers, wherein larger consumers of water are charged at a higher per-unit rate than lower-consumption customers. If these higher rates result in revenues higher than the cost of actually providing services, the agencies would be in violation of the state law.

Coziahr is seeking an order declaring the rate structures unconstitutional and an injunction blocking the agencies from charging based upon the existing system. A similar case is currently pending in Marin County.

Interestingly, the county water authority has, with some success, used the same argument in its ongoing battles with the Los Angeles–based Metropolitan.

Contacted by Courthouse News Service, Andre Mura, a lawyer with the firm representing Coziahr, explained that "The California Constitution expresses the people's view that water conservation is achieved by pricing that reflects the actual cost of water delivery service to a given property. This suit seeks to enforce the water conservation policies adopted by the people."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

2-D transfers of 3-D Rarities

Genres covered include sci-fi, westerns, cartoons, musicals, and an A-Bomb scare film, along with other assorted documentaries.
Next Article

Harvey Milk ship-christening with Mayor Todd Gloria

“Uncle Harvey was forced to resign because he was gay. It’s important to teach that we have evolved.”

Heavy water users opposed to statewide conservation efforts are using California's Proposition 218 as a tool to undermine water agencies' pricing tiers, which charge more to higher-consumption customers. The measure, passed in 1996, requires voter approval of "tax, assessment, fee and charge increases" by state and local government agencies.

Last April, an appellate court found tiered water rates charged in San Juan Capistrano to be unconstitutional. Following that decision, local resident Mark Coziahr last week launched a class-action suit against Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority, and Otay Water District, which serves a large swath of East County and South County.

Coziahr's argument hinges on a portion of the measure's text, which reads "Revenues derived from the fee or charge shall not exceed the funds required to provide the property related service."

Both Metropolitan and Otay (though not the San Diego County Water Authority) have three rate tiers, wherein larger consumers of water are charged at a higher per-unit rate than lower-consumption customers. If these higher rates result in revenues higher than the cost of actually providing services, the agencies would be in violation of the state law.

Coziahr is seeking an order declaring the rate structures unconstitutional and an injunction blocking the agencies from charging based upon the existing system. A similar case is currently pending in Marin County.

Interestingly, the county water authority has, with some success, used the same argument in its ongoing battles with the Los Angeles–based Metropolitan.

Contacted by Courthouse News Service, Andre Mura, a lawyer with the firm representing Coziahr, explained that "The California Constitution expresses the people's view that water conservation is achieved by pricing that reflects the actual cost of water delivery service to a given property. This suit seeks to enforce the water conservation policies adopted by the people."

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The Yoda Code

“Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they.”
Next Article

Bob McPhail wrote about illnesses, finally dies of them

With Reader from 1987 to 2018
Comments
11

If there is a lack of supply of something does increasing the price of it make it more available? If there was a true lack of something then there would be a shortage of it no matter what the price.

July 20, 2015

Yes, raising the price makes it more available. First, higher prices encourage conservation like no bleating government announcement ever could. Second, in a free market, higher profits attract investment by those seeking to make money.

What's your solution when demand exceeds supply? Leave the price the same? Lower it? What mechanism do you propose, how would it work, and what would it accomplish?

July 23, 2015

Water law is a travesty. It should not be permitted, on the basis of precedent alone, to overpower common sense.

Water should be a public commodity, shared equitably.

July 20, 2015

What, exactly, is "equitability" here? Can I have as much water as any farmer? Or should the farmer only be allowed to have as much water as me? Of course, now we hear, "That's ridiculous, obviously the farmer needs more water than you do!" Really? Who determines that? What if I want to be a farmer, too?

We should absolutely have a "water bankruptcy" where these ancient "rights" and agreements are swept away, just like in a financial bankruptcy when an entity owes more than it can pay, and everyone recognizes that "what's owed" is now irrelevant, and the only question left is, "What's available, and who gets how much?" But after that we should be left with a free, open market; not some government bureaucracy deciding what's "fair" and who gets what.

July 23, 2015

The devil's in the details. There is the existing system. There are alternatives. The alternatives can be explored, then the question answered, "Which is better?"

July 23, 2015

Here is one discussion of equitable: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/equity

July 23, 2015

Since San Diego County residents have been ordered to cut back on water usage, perhaps the top water executives should demonstrate their empathy by taking a salary cut. Maureen A. Stapleton, Gen. Mgr. of SD County Water Authority (per 2013 figures from Transparent California; http://transparentcalifornia.com/), has salary + benefits of $390,117.81. The figure may be higher now.

July 23, 2015

Almost as much as the SDSU pres.

July 24, 2015

Re: jnojr July 23, 2015 @ 8:15 a.m.

Yes, raising the price makes it more available. First, higher prices encourage conservation like no bleating government announcement ever could. Second, in a free market, higher profits attract investment by those seeking to make money.

What's your solution when demand exceeds supply? Leave the price the same? Lower it? What mechanism do you propose, how would it work, and what would it accomplish?

Water is a FINITE resource and an absolute requirement for life, like air to breathe. It is required for food, from salad to steak. It is not optional for these uses, it is a true NEED. Landscaping and car washes, and many other USES are not needs but DESIRES. In a lifeboat full of people with a limited amount of fresh water, one should think twice before using it to wash one's hair, for example, when others need to drink it in order to live. When one overwater's one's landscaping and washes one's car or otherwise uses water for LUXURY CONSUMPTION, one is not acting responsibly with respect to society at large.

Water rates should be set at an allocation level which will sustain the distribution system and our lives according to priority--first needs, then desires. One cannot achieve perfect equity, but it is possible to make the system more equitable. For residences and some commercial property, for example, allocations can be set based upon lot size and the CIMIS evapotranspiration zone. All of the required data already exists in electronic form, so a huge expenditure is not required for set-up.

For example, if you live on the seacoast where the CIMIS map (http://www.cimis.water.ca.gov/App_Themes/images/etozonemap.jpg ) indicates an evapotranspiration demand of about three acre-feet per acre per year (in addition to the foot or usually less of precipitation), you would be allocated that much per year (see the CIMIS map), which is enough to have the entire lot planted in grass.

If you live in the hotter, drier interior where the evapotranspiration demand is higher, you would be allocated more to achieve a kind of parity, so the level of "suffering" would be equitable. You might be allocated five or more acre feet per acre.

Look at the CIMIS map for your evapotranspiration (etozone) and compare it to your water bill's report of your consumption.

July 23, 2015

Continued from previous post:

In other words, enough for any landscaping you desire, at the basic luxury consumption level. Indoor use is less than outdoor use (according to the authorities), so that would add a bit of additional water for the outside, giving anyone a comfortable margin for errorwatering. Any use above that amount would set off a water-rate increase formula with a ceiling (of, say, 200 percent?) that would fund the reward of those using less than their basic allocation.

If this level, in any given state of water supply would be excessive, the allocation level will shift accordingly.

This same kind of formula applies to agriculture. Farmers and industrial agriculture corporations would not be overcharged unless they wasted water in a seasonal cycle, and they could regain their waste penalty by not irrigating at all if they kept their fallow fields in a non-irrigated state but grew crops (wildflower seed or ?) that required no irrigation but kept the soil from blowing away in dust "storms."

Not perfect equity, perhaps, but far more equitable than the present system, and far more objective.

July 23, 2015

Interesting article with interesting information...

July 5, 2016

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close