Livermore, CA – On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Zone 7 Water Agency Board of Directors by a vote of 5 to 2 approved 5.5% annual rate revenue increases for wholesale water services to the Tri-Valley’s four water retailers, for Calendar Years 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026. The Board will revisit the rate schedule for calendar years 2025 and 2026, through a public process, with any changed rates adopted by November 2024.
The retailers are the cities of Livermore and Pleasanton, Dublin San Ramon Services District, and California Water Service.
The new rate schedule was set through a rigorous cost-recovery analysis and public review process. The Board held four separate public meetings reviewing rates and invited the public to participate in the process.
Zone 7 studied the need for rate adjustments in consideration of the rising costs of importing water, operations, maintenance, environmental and regulatory compliance — ensuring treated water rates keep pace with the increasing costs to provide safe, reliable water.
The approved rate increase is essential to construct, maintain and repair the crucial infrastructure that keeps customers’ water safe and consistently flowing to homes and businesses.
The most significant factor at play in the rate setting process is the need for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) treatment at some of Zone 7’s wells. Two percent will provide funding for capital costs and ongoing maintenance of two treatment projects that will remove PFAS from drinking water wells identified as exceeding the standards. These treatment projects will allow Zone 7 to meet the upcoming regulatory requirements and keep vital production wells in service which pump groundwater for the Tri-Valley — a critical water supply source for the region during the drought.
PFAS are a large class of thousands of manmade, heat-resistant chemicals that are prevalent in the environment and are commonly used in consumer products to repel water, grease, and oil. Due to their prolonged use in an array of industrial and consumer products, PFAS are being detected in water sources throughout the United States, including the Livermore Valley Groundwater Basin. Despite playing no role in releasing PFAS into the environment, water providers like Zone 7, must find ways to remove it from their local water supplies to ensure public health.
Another 1.5% will fund continued participation in two water supply reliability projects. The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project will increase local storage and build new conveyance — providing crucial operational flexibility for the Agency. The Delta Conveyance Project will update aging State Water Project infrastructure, from which Zone 7 gets 80% of its water, to be more resilient to climate change as well as protect it from seismic risk.
The remaining 2% is allocated to maintaining adequate reserves, funding capital improvement projects and the operation, maintenance, and administration of Zone 7’s water system.
The first rate increase will go into effect February 1, 2023 and the remaining increases for years 2024-2026 will be effective January 1 of each year.
For more information about the new rates, visit zone7water.com/rates.