Water and Wastewater Rates
Water And Wastewater Rates
Ventura's vital water and wastewater services are completely self-supporting through revenues generated by rates paid by our customers. Reliable, clean water is delivered around the clock for daily activities such as bathing, cooking, and outdoor watering. Equally important, water sent down the drains of our homes and businesses is collected and cleaned to protect our health and the health of the environment.
But, did you know that your money also funds a wide range of other less visible expenses? Long-term debt payments, planning, environmental compliance, and capital projects including replacement of old pipes and associated facilities are all provided by Ventura Water and paid through our rates.
Rate restructuring and increases were effective on July 4, 2012 and will be increased again on July 1, 2013. The two-year increases are based on a Cost of Service and Rate Design Study conducted by Ventura Water with input from an Advisory Committee composed of Ventura volunteers. In addition to rate increases, the rate structures were modified to adapt to usage patterns that have changed over the last 20 years. The significant changes include:
1. Reduction of water usage allowance in residential Tiers 1 and 2 to provide greater incentives for conservation.
2. Increasing the water meter service charge.
3. A small reduction in the residential Tier 1 rate for fiscal year 2013.
4. Applying a fixed charge plus winter water use to determine annual residential wastewater charges.
5. A separate Estuary Protection charge to fund planning for the water reuse program.
The Cost of Service and Rate Design Study was completed by Raftelis Financial Consultants, in collaboration with the nine-member Advisory Committee and the public who attended a series of meetings from October 2011 to January 2012. Ventura's last formal Cost of Service study was conducted in the early 1990s.
To more accurately estimate the water volume per account sent to the Water Reclamation Facility for cleaning, a different methodology for residential wastewater charges has replaced the previous wastewater tiers and sewer determination period. The wastewater charge, starting on July 4, 2012, is the sum of (1) a fixed charge, (2) a winter average flow charge (or commodity charge), and (3) an Estuary Protection charge. The winter average flow charge (commodity charge) is set annually based on the average water usage during two full billing periods for bills received February through May. Since our billing system is based on an eight-week cycle, the usage periods will vary based on your meter reading bill cycle. To help customers identify their cycle, all bills now include the cycle number directly under the account number on the upper right-hand corner of the bill.
The 2011-12 Winter Average Cycles Chart shows the usage periods that were averaged to set the flow/commodity charge for each of the eight cycles for bills starting on July 4, 2012. The total wastewater charge will remain constant for the entire next year and then reset every July based on the previous winter average usage. The 2012-13 Winter Average Cycles Chart defines the two cycles that will be used to set the wastewater charge starting July 1, 2013.
In recognition that most higher water consumers in the winter months are using water for outdoor use, which is not returned to the wastewater system for cleaning, the winter flow/commodity charge is capped at 30 HCF (hundred cubic feet = 748 gallons) for single family customers and 24 HCF for multi-family customers.
Since the amount of water used during the winter averaging time period will set the following year's wastewater charge, wise water use can help save you money. If you have any questions or need help determining your wastewater charge, please call Customer Care at (805) 667-6500.
Our community is dedicated to protecting our environment and using our resources wisely. As a result of legal actions, the City has agreed to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a long-term water reuse program for the wastewater cleaned by the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility that is currently released into the Santa Clara River Estuary. The cost of the program will be set through a planning process over the next five years or so, but by the terms of the agreement, is capped at $55 million at today's dollars. The Advisory Committee evaluated financial options to fund the program and recommended a separate charge to fund planning only for this program since the actual costs are not yet known.
Customers are encouraged to watch a video and read more information about the agreement as key participants in the next steps. Please attend upcoming stakeholder meetings for the Santa Clara River Estuary Special Studies to learn more about this important process as the future of the water reuse program is planned.
Please note that the "current" rates displayed on the calculator were before the rate adjustments effective on 7/1/12. To estimate how your bill may change on 7/1/13, please compare today's current rates shown as 7/1/12 on the calculator. Also, please be aware that the calculator uses the term commodity charge for water consumption and the winter average flow charge.
The Cost of Service and Rate Design Study shows that water usage patterns have changed for some classes of customers more than others. As a result, some rates are higher and some are lower in the first year to establish a more equitable rate structure. Your customer class, meter(s) size and actual water use will determine if you bill is higher or lower due to the new rates. For the most accurate estimate, residential customers should use the water usage information from your last two bills to help determine your average winter water use (commodity/flow charge). For assistance using the Calculator, please contact Customer Care at (805) 667-6500.
Water And Wastewater Two-Year Rates Approval Process
In early April 2012, every Ventura Water customer and property owner was mailed a notice about the proposed rates and the date of the City Council's scheduled Public Hearing. About 15 residents spoke at the Public Hearing on May 21 and the City Clerk reported that 155 protest votes had been submitted, in accordance with Proposition 218. At that time, the City Council voted to approve the two-year rates, effective on July 4, 2012 (30 days following final adoption of the rates ordinance on June 4) and again on July 1, 2013..