Water Rate Structure
Water Rate Structure
Water rates must be carefully established to cover actual costs to purchase supplies and to operate the distribution system. As the value of water as a commodity has steadily increased over recent years of drought and shortages, the cost per acre foot keeps rising. Even with conservation, consumer water bills can reflect an increase because of this. Additionally, as fixed operational costs are closely analyzed, it becomes evident that energy to pump the water and system infrastructure maintenance also carry increasing expenses for the water utility over time. Thus, customers do see periodic adjustments that assure the long-term viability of Brea's water utility. This only happens following technical studies and a public hearing process.
Rate Setting Process
Brea staff worked for over a year with its water rate technical consultant, Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. (RFC), gathering consumption history, water purchases, maintenance costs, etc., to determine an appropriate rate structure for Brea. Subsequently, in-depth reports were prepared and this topic was placed on multiple City Council agendas.
Recent questions have been answered to help explain aspects of Brea's water operation.
Since spring of 2015, Brea’s City Council has conducted five public discussions regarding water rates. The first meeting took place on May 5, 2015 followed by August 25, 2015, October 3, 2015, and November 17, 2015. A public hearing regarding proposed rate adjustments was held at the February 2, 2016 City Council meeting.
Many documents and presentations have been distributed to interested participants and posted on the website for reference. In addition, on-demand viewing of council meetings has been available online. A Notice of the public hearing was mailed directly to all customers and property owners. You may use live links below to see related documents and presentations.
Council Meeting May 5, 2015
Council Meeting August 25, 2015
Council Meeting October 5, 2015
Council Meeting November 17, 2015
Council Meeting February 2, 2016
Council Meeting May 17, 2016
May 17, 2016 - Public Hearing Presentation
The City of Brea takes management of its water utility operation through the Public Works Department very seriously. Certified water professionals are highly conscientious in the daily distribution of water to over 13,000 customers and for quality maintenance to 197 miles of potable pipeline and the associated pump stations and reservoirs. The entire community relies on this vital utility for its health and economic stability.
Brea’s water utility is financially structured as a non-profit enterprise within the overall City of Brea budget for delivery of approximately 10,770 acre feet of water annually. Responsible managers strive to control costs while holding adequate reserves to enable critical capital improvements that protect the quality and reliability of the overall system. The City has always closely monitored operations and it routinely evaluates costs in order to offer fair rates that cover operational needs.
Although California’s record drought does have major implications for the acquisition and distribution of water, Brea’s current review process was triggered as part of a routine cycle of careful management. Fixed costs to build, operate and maintain the system are examined in addition to actual purchase prices for the water commodity. Adjustments are required to maintain healthy finances and to meet legal requirements showing actual costs of delivery.
This analytical process becomes very timely given State of California mandates for increased water conservation in recent months. State mandates impact every jurisdiction, not only Brea's reduction requirement. Close resource management by all water utilities will be essential to assure ongoing future service throughout the entire State.
Per discussion at a City Council meeting, the proposed effective date was moved to March 9, 2016, with a secondary adjustment on July 1, 2016 to align with the usual annual review and adjustment timing.
Projected Impact of Proposed Rates