San Bernardino water costs rising : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thursday, May 24, 2001 City water costs rising Pumping expenses go up with electricity rates, and officials consider a surcharge.


San Bernardino Municipal Water Department customers should expect to pay more to make up for soaring electricity costs related to transporting water throughout the city, officials said.

The city water department, a customer of Southern California Edison, estimates that its annual electrical bill will nearly double this year, from $1.95 million to $3.45 million, said Stacey Aldstadt, the department's deputy general manager.

The city's Board of Water Commissioners will discuss a new surcharge for residential users on June 5 and possibly decide on changes June 19, said John Murphy, the department's director of administration and finance.

"It costs money to pump the water out of the ground," Murphy said. "It doesn't come to the surface for free."

The surcharge will add $1.80 to the average monthly bill for households, which is now $22.54, Murphy said. The change is expected to take effect July 1, he said.

Department staff also will be educating residents about the importance of boiling water if the power goes out for more than eight hours at a time, Aldstadt said.

During blackouts, water pipelines are not properly pressurized and pockets of air may create unhealthful bacteria, she said.

The department additionally is kicking off a water conservation campaign as summer approaches. It offers basic tips such as keeping sprinkler and washing machine use to off-peak, nighttime hours.

The department is responsible for 40,117 water hookups in the city limits, serving an estimated 120,000 people, Aldstadt said.

Joanna Banks can be reached at or at (909) 890-4454.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 24, 2001

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