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Despite pending litigation and efforts by the San Diego County Water Authority, city staff, and councilmembers of the Natural Resources and Culture (NR&C) committee – San Diegans should prepare themselves for water rate increases.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), San Diego’s prominent water supplier, has proposed a 7% rate increase for fiscal year 2012-13, followed by a 5% increase for 2013-14. The cost of imported water accounts for nearly half of the county’s Public Utilities Department’s annual budget, and despite many cost savings measures, San Diegans will have to pay more for their water.

Representatives from public utilities department yesterday provided a grim outlook to the NR&C committee, reporting that MWD has been unresponsive to their rate increase inquiries and cost-savings proposals. At MWD’s public hearing on March 12, various representatives from San Diego, including councilmember Lori Zapf, spoke against the rate increases.

“There were 23 of us against the increases, to their 17 in favor,” said Zapf, who stated that speakers in favor were clearly part of an orchestrated effort by MWD, and were representatives from business chambers and organizations that count as MWD as a member. Zapf also lifted a large binder consisting of public records that prove a “secret society” exists within MWD to unfairly and illegally increase water rates for San Diego.

Zapf proposed that the city take the necessary steps to request that the state Attorney General investigate MWD’s “corruption” and audit their finances, a measure that she and mayor Sanders attempted to orchestrate unsuccessfully.

Councilmembers David Alvarez and Carl DeMaio, who referred to MWD’s fiscal practice as a racketeering scheme, agreed with Zapf, and requested that the City Attorney’s office provide instruction on how to proceed with seeking intervention from the state Attorney General.

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