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Recent Public Meetings About Rates

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How Rate Changes Are Ensuring Water and Wastewater Reliability

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Watch the recording from our May 22 informational webinar on proposed water and wastewater rates.

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Ensuring Sufficient Rates to Fund Critical Infrastructure

City staff repairing water main break.

Santa Barbara’s water and wastewater systems represent some of the largest public infrastructure investments in our City. In order to implement a long-term plan to replace aging infrastructure and to ensure reliable, 24/7 service, the City is proposing annual rate adjustments over the next four years. This recommendation is based on the cost to provide services to guarantee rates are sufficient to: 

  • Cover costs needed to operate and maintain over 600 miles of pipes, four treatment plants, and other essential facilities.
  • Invest in critical improvement projects, including replacing old pipes and infrastructure that have reached the end of their useful lives.
  • Recover from inflationary increases that have far outpaced the costs rates were initially set to recover.


What Your Bill Pays For

Your monthly bill helps ensure we keep our water and wastewater systems maintained and operating around the clock, which is key to protecting public health and the environment.

Graphic of dollar bill portions

Proposed Rate Increases

As a public utility, our rates can only include the costs of providing water and wastewater utility services. Revenues from rates are used to run the utilities and do not generate profit or go towards other City programs.

Unfortunately, “do nothing” is not an option for maintaining critical infrastructure. Delaying important investments will only make it more expensive in the future and could lead to emergencies that will be exponentially more expensive and disruptive than planned maintenance. To implement a vital, long-term plan to replace pipes and infrastructure, the City of Santa Barbara is proposing annual rate adjustments over the next four years for water and wastewater services. 

Customer Assistance is Available

The City understands the difficulties we all face from rising costs and is working hard to minimize rate increases while ensuring safe and reliable services that we rely on 24/7. For water customers, we continue to offer customer assistance programs including payment arrangement plans, a waiver of the Utility Users Tax for qualifying low-income customers, water leak relief, and a mixture of residential and commercial rebates to encourage the efficient use of water. We’ve recently partnered with the Alliance for Water Efficiency on a Water Rate Affordability Study to evaluate utility rate affordability challenges and potential solutions.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

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Proposed Water Rates

Proposed Volumetric Water Rates

All rates are in $/HCF. 1 HCF (Hundred Cubic Feet) = 748 gallons.

 

 

 

Proposed

Customer Class

Tiers

Current

FY25

FY26

FY27

FY28

Single Family Residential

First 4 HCF

$5.10 

$5.49 

$6.06 

$6.67 

$7.34 

Next 12 HCF

$15.19 

$15.31 

$16.92 

$18.61 

$20.47 

All other HCF

$28.54 

$34.90 

$38.56 

$42.42 

$46.66 

Multi-Family Residential

First 4 HCF (per dwelling unit)

$5.10 

$5.49 

$6.06 

$6.67 

$7.34 

Next 4 HCF (per dwelling unit)

$15.19 

$15.31 

$16.92 

$18.61 

$20.47 

All other HCF

$28.54 

$34.90 

$38.56 

$42.42 

$46.66 

Commercial/Industrial

100% of base allotment

$7.77 

$8.19 

$9.05 

$9.96 

$10.96 

All other HCF

$28.45 

$37.82 

$41.80 

$45.98 

$50.58 

Irrigation – Residential & Commercial

100% of monthly water budget*

$15.19 

$15.31 

$16.92 

$18.61 

$20.47 

All other HCF

$28.54 

$34.90 

$38.56 

$42.42 

$46.66 

Irrigation – Recreation/Parks/Schools

100% of monthly water budget*

$5.98 

$7.26 

$8.02 

$8.82 

$9.70 

All other HCF

$28.54 

$34.90 

$38.56 

$42.42 

$46.66 

Irrigation – Agriculture

100% of monthly water budget*

$3.98 

$5.13 

$5.67 

$6.24 

$6.86 

All other HCF

$28.54 

$34.90 

$38.56 

$42.42 

$46.66 

Recycled Water

All HCF

$4.99 

$6.10 

$6.74 

$7.41 

$8.15 

*The Monthly Water Budget for irrigation accounts is a calculation of Tier 1 allotment based on the property’s irrigated landscape area and the monthly watering needs of plants.

Proposed Maximum Fixed Monthly Service Charges

Charges based on meter size. 

 

 

5/8”

3/4”

1”

1 ½”

2”

3”

4”

6”

8”

10”

Current

$32.60 

$47.73 

$77.97 

$153.59 

$244.33 

$531.67 

$955.12 

$1,968.37 

$3,631.93 

$5,749.18 

Proposed

FY25

$36.21 

$52.50 

$85.09 

$166.55 

$264.30 

$573.86 

$1,030.06 

$2,121.66 

$3,913.84 

$6,194.80 

FY26

$40.01 

$58.01 

$94.02 

$184.04 

$292.05 

$634.12 

$1,138.22 

$2,344.43 

$4,324.79 

$6,845.25 

FY27

$44.01 

$63.81 

$103.42 

$202.44 

$321.26 

$697.53 

$1,252.04 

$2,578.87 

$4,757.27 

$7,529.78 

FY28

$48.41 

$70.19 

$113.76 

$222.68 

$353.39 

$767.28 

$1,377.24 

$2,836.76 

$5,233.00 

$8,282.76 

Proposed Wastewater Rates

Proposed Residential Volumetric & Fixed Wastewater Rates (Table 1)

1 HCF (hundred cubic feet) = 748 gallons. FY = fiscal year July 1—June 30

 

 

 

Proposed

Customer Class

Charge Type

Current

FY25

FY26

FY27

FY28

Single Family Residential

Monthly Base Charge ($/Dwelling Unit)

$27.00 

$29.90 

$32.74 

$35.85 

$39.26 

Usage Charge up to 8 HCF ($/HCF)

$4.28 

$4.53 

$4.96 

$5.43 

$5.95 

Multi-Family Residential 4 or less Dwellings

Monthly Base Charge ($/Dwelling Unit on account)

$27.00 

$29.90 

$32.74 

$35.85 

$39.26 

Usage Charge ($/HCF)

$4.28 

$4.53 

$4.96 

$5.43 

$5.95 

Multi-Family Residential 5+  Dwellings

Monthly Base Charge ($/Dwelling Unit on account)

$27.00 

$29.90 

$32.74 

$35.85 

$39.26 

Usage Charge ($/HCF)

$4.28 

$4.53 

$4.96 

$5.43 

$5.95 

Commercial and Commercial High Strength/Industrial customers are charged a fixed charge dependent on meter size (Tables 2-3), or a volumetric charge dependent on the quantity of water consumed (Table 4), whichever is greater.

Proposed Commercial Wastewater Fixed Charges (Table 2)

Charges based on water meter size. 

 

5/8”

3/4”

1”

1 ½”

2”

3”

4”

6”

8”

10”

Current

$51.69 

$77.54 

$90.46 

$129.23 

$206.76 

$387.68 

$646.13 

$1,292.25 

$2,067.60 

$2,972.18 

FY 2025

$53.28 

$79.92 

$93.24 

$133.20 

$213.12 

$399.60 

$666.00 

$1,332.00 

$2,131.20 

$3,063.60 

FY 2026

$58.34 

$87.51 

$102.10 

$145.85 

$233.36 

$437.55 

$729.25 

$1,458.50 

$2,333.60 

$3,354.55 

FY 2027

$63.88 

$95.82 

$111.79 

$159.70 

$255.52 

$479.10 

$798.50 

$1,597.00 

$2,555.20 

$3,673.10 

FY 2028

$69.95 

$104.92 

$122.41 

$174.87 

$279.79 

$524.61 

$874.36 

$1,748.72 

$2,797.94 

$4,022.04 

Proposed Commercial High Strength/Industrial Wastewater Fixed Charges (Table 3)

Charges based on water meter size. 

 

5/8”

3/4”

1”

1 ½”

2”

3”

4”

6”

8”

10”

Current

$59.70 

$89.55 

$104.48 

$149.25 

$238.80 

$447.75 

$746.25 

$1,492.50 

$2,388.00 

$3,432.75 

FY 2025

$66.31 

$99.47 

$116.04 

$165.78 

$265.24 

$497.33 

$828.88 

$1,657.75 

$2,652.40 

$3,812.83 

FY 2026

$72.61 

$108.92 

$127.07 

$181.53 

$290.44 

$544.58 

$907.63 

$1,815.25 

$2,904.40 

$4,175.08 

FY 2027

$79.51 

$119.27 

$139.14 

$198.78 

$318.04 

$596.33 

$993.88 

$1,987.75 

$3,180.40 

$4,571.83 

FY 2028

$87.06 

$130.59 

$152.36 

$217.65 

$348.24 

$652.95 

$1,088.25 

$2,176.50 

$3,482.40 

$5,005.95 


Proposed Volumetric Commercial Wastewater Rates in $/HCF (Table 4)

 

 

Proposed

Customer Class

Current

FY25

FY26

FY27

FY28

Commercial

$5.27 

$6.56 

$7.18 

$7.86 

$8.61 

Commercial High Strength/Industrial

$6.65 

$7.23 

$7.92 

$8.67 

$9.49 

Proposed Wastewater Strength Surcharges in $/lb (Table 5)

If the City’s Water Resources Laboratory determines that a customer has exceeded the high strength discharge limit for Biochemical Oxygen (BOD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), or Ammonia, a surcharge will be assessed for each constituent in excess of its relative limit.

 

Current

FY25

FY26

FY27

FY28

BOD (>750 mg/l)

$0.34 

$0.30 

$0.33 

$0.36 

$0.39 

TSS (>850 mg/l)

$0.48 

$0.58 

$0.64 

$0.70 

$0.77 

Ammonia (>90 mg/l)

$1.17 

$1.37 

$1.50 

$1.64 

$1.80