The water company asked us to reduce, reuse and recycle. We complied.
We did such a great job, that they increased rates because we weren't using enough water and they weren't making enough money.
...but then that leads to the idea that you can use any amount of water and it's fine so they have a punitive use charge to change user behavior.
But because of the extra revenue, they can lower the flat rate. ...but that gets you in trouble if the punitive charges decrease.
So you have to adjust to a relative usage surcharge which is basically where we're at but it just looks like "why lower if they raise the rates?". ...well because it's relative to everyone else's usage.
I doubt the dip in water use was enough to offset the wear on infra that needs to be dealt with. Or the labor costs to do that maintenance which go up each year.
Oh sure some of the revenue may be useless but you can’t expect something like a water utility to behave like a social media company. Facebook could go tits up and people are out of jobs.
What happens when a water utility folds?
I'm very skeptical that "drought" prices are more related to encouraging environmentally friendly behavior than they are about disguising greed.
That's a funny way of saying "we didn't want to dry up the rivers", isn't it?
Isn't it really just a "feel good" thing?
No one is arguing about wet years either. Look at the dry year example. 36% environmental. 62% agriculture. 13% urban.
Edit: also notice the chart - the delta is only about half of those environmental percentages (on average, unfortunately they don't split it out for dry years). The other half comes from "North Coast" which seems likely to be more difficult to take advantage of - at least I haven't heard any controversy over trying to use that water. We don't know what the exact percentage would be in a dry year, but it would still be below 36%.
California needs to tackle water usage. There are reasonable changes that can be made in homes and towns - swapping to drought-resistant gardens instead of lawns, rain barrels to catch run-off, absorbent parking lots that don't drain out to the sewers, etc.
Agriculture also needs to be tackled, sure. That doesn't mean saving a percent here and there is of no use.
What really matters is the amount of water that can be channeled to your place of living today.
And then having small changes like non-flushed toilets help increase awareness about water shortage. If that ultimately makes people replace their lawn with desert plants, I think it's a win.
The drought surcharges are complete and utter bullshit.
Revenue streams never go away. Government becomes dependent on that revenue and continuing to collect is it easier than re-shuffling other revenue around or choosing what to de-fund so the revenue gets kept.
Get used to your drought surcharge. It's not going anywhere.
Edit: Based on the popularity of this comment one would think government revenue streams go poof all the time. If anybody has evidence of this I would like to know more about is to I can advocate for replicating those circumstance in my state.
Edit: Is this interpretation incorrect or just inconvenient?
I see what you did there.