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    Trabuco Canyon residents’ water bill rates are increasing
    • July 5, 2023

    Trabuco Canyon Water District passed a proposal to increase rates for “new water, wastewater and recycled water” in a special meeting that took place on June 29.

    The proposed rates have been applied to bills since July 1, and will slowly increase over the next five years.

    The rates will incrementally increase for water with an average single-family bill increasing from the current average of $133.38 per month to $287.80 per month. The increased rates will add $24 million in support to the district.

    The district also approved a new annual tax on all TCWD property owners. The proposed “Single Family Waste Water Tax” will cost $551.04 per year and will be added to residents’ property tax bills starting in 2024. It will increase incrementally on each year’s property tax to reach its final cost of $930.36 per year starting in 2028.

    The extra money will be specifically used for the “aging infrastructure,” board members said, which includes updating the sewage stations and Trabuco dams as well as repairing the water storage throughout the district.

    Inflation, too, caused the rates to increase, board members said, stating that “post-pandemic inflation was never anticipated in the last rate study” and “electricity for pumping, chemicals for water treatment, fuel for fleet vehicles costs have dramatically increased.”

    The Trabuco Canyon Water District covers residents and businesses in the Trabuco Canyon, Dove Canyon and Portola Hills area.

    “This (rate change) is going to be very challenging,” said Trabuco Canyon resident Tim Stone. “We are seniors on a fixed income. It means an extra $230 a month even though we were praised for conserving our water use. Although we have solar, the new rate structure being considered by the state will significantly increase our bill.”

    Since the California drought, the transportation and the supply chain of the water has been disrupted, causing an increase in costs to the Southern California water districts, according to legislation in Sacramento that TCWD officials say could impact future pricing.

    Introduced by Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Merced, SB 366, also known as “The California Water Plan,” will provide strategies to ensure enough water supply is accessible for California residents at an affordable cost. It passed unanimously out of the Senate and is up for consideration in the Assembly.

    “Despite decades of work to improve our state’s water system,” said Sen. Catherine Blakespear, a Democrat who represents the Trabuco Canyon area, “our infrastructure remains inadequate to meet our present needs and is woefully unprepared to meet our future water needs.”

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    ​ Orange County Register