Sacramento city council approves water and wastewater rate adjustments

March 29, 2016

Four-year rate adjustments include 10 percent increases for water and 9 percent increases for wastewater 

City will also expand rate assistance program

The City Council voted tonight to approve the Department of Utilities’ rate adjustments for water and wastewater services. The approved four-year rate adjustments include a 10 percent increase for water and 9 percent increase for wastewater. The first increase for each will take effect July 1, 2016. 

The City Council also approved Utility Rate Assistance Program expansion to include nonprofit organizations that provide housing. The program helps income-eligible Sacramento households save approximately $360 a year on their utility costs.  

The water and wastewater rate increases will help Utilities complete critical replacement and improvement projects to keep the City’s water and wastewater systems safe, reliable and financially stable. The funds will also ensure the City remains in compliance with all state and federal regulations. 

“We are appreciative of Council’s support as we address necessary challenges in order to keep these systems running efficiently and effectively for our residents,” said Bill Busath, director of the Department of Utilities.

Key projects scheduled for rate adjustment funding include: 

  • Accelerated Water Meter Program for completion by the end of 2020, four years ahead of the state’s mandated deadline of January 2025. Having the entire city on water meters will improve water conservation, comply with the law and ensure fair and equitable billing for all customers. 
  • Ensured compliance with regulatory requirements by completing improvements to separated and combined sewer system pipelines and constructing a large underground combined wastewater storage facility in the McKinley Park area.
  • Repair and replacement of old, aging pipelines, pump stations and other facilities.  
  • Significant upgrades to customer service and billing programs. 

The average residential customer will see the rate adjustment increase their monthly bill for water and wastewater services by $6.59 in year one, $7.23 in year two, $7.93 in year three and $8.70 in year four. 

The Department of Utilities recently conducted a statistically valid telephone survey to obtain input about customer awareness levels, opinions and attitudes about their water, sewer and storm drainage services. The survey results show nine in 10 customers agree Utilities provides reliable service with a strong majority also agreeing Utilities adequately maintains services, pipelines and facilities related to the water, wastewater and storm drainage systems. 

“With tonight’s approval, we can deliver the Accelerated Meter Program and continue to meet our customers’ trust in us to provide reliable services for decades to come,” added Busath.    

The survey results also indicate more than 81 percent of customers feel Utilities delivers safe drinking water. Earlier this month, an Associated Press poll testing American’s confidence in safe drinking water showed only half of Americans are very confident in the safety of their drinking water while 33 percent are moderately confident. The Associated Press poll also showed seven in 10 people drink tap water but about half filter it first. 

For additional information on the proposed water and wastewater rate adjustments, please contact Utilities at (916) 808-5454 or visit

Contact: Rhea Serran, Department of Utilities, 916-808-5594, [email protected]