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TUD: Water Conservation And Rate Increases

Sonora, CA– The TUD board discussed water and their financial situation related to the drought at its afternoon meeting today. A motion to lower the conservation level from the TUD mandated 30 percent to match the state mandated 24 percent failed to get a second and was not voted on. Board Chair Ron Ringen pointed out his concern that the state will fine TUD if it does not meet its state-set conservation requirements. Ringen says, “With the very real possibility of getting some huge fines, and having the state step in and tell us how we will do our conservation program, I think putting in that little safety factor [and saving] up to 30 percent to make sure we get through, just makes all the sense in the world.”

The Phase III amended mandatory water restrictions of a 30% usage reduction from 2013 levels went into effect at the end of April. If TUD does not meet the 24% state reduction level, TUD could be fined $10,000 for each day it is out of compliance. Other discussion about the issue echoed the board’s discussions at the last meeting, reported here previously.

The board scheduled to review customer conservation rates to see if it meets the state’s target its the first meeting in July. If state targets have safely been met, it could decide to discuss lowering the conservation rate again at its second July meeting.

Also on the TUD agenda was a review of details on a possible customer rate increase or Drought Revenue Recovery Fee. General Manager Tom Scesa reported to the board that he was not able to prepare the necessary documents and the issue was delayed until the next meeting.