The Desert Water Agency Board of Directors voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a reduced budget that does not include the water rate increase planned to go into effect July 1.
“As elected representatives and community members, we see and feel the struggle during the pandemic,” said Board President Joseph K. Stuart. “In addition to expanding financial assistance, we halted late fees and shutoffs to help. Raising rates now just wasn’t the right move.”
The proposed rate adjustment was the last of five planned increases approved on Dec. 15, 2016 to cover replacement of aging pipelines and the increased cost to import water. The Board of Directors will revisit the Agency’s financial standing and the need to increase rates as 2020 draws to a close.
The decision to delay this rate increase is the latest in a series of COVID-19 relief measures and resources meant to assist customers hit hard by the crisis.
Since mid-March, DWA has waived all late fees and kept water running even for customers unable to pay their bills. Additionally, the Agency is absorbing credit card processing fees that customers previously paid. All this while tightening its own belt.
Like many other governmental agencies and households affected by the pandemic, Desert Water Agency continues to look at ways to cut costs. The General Manager asked each department to cut budgetary requests for the coming fiscal year starting July 1 in an effort to reduce expenditures. Desert Water Agency is also pursuing FEMA funding to recoup costs associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
Still, Desert Water Agency continues to deliver safe and reliable water to all customers.
Bill credits are available for any Desert Water Agency residential customer financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Go to www.dwa.org/H2O to learn more.
For more information, please contact Outreach & Conservation Manager Ashley Metzger at (760) 323-4971 ext. 184, or via e-mail at Ashley@dwa.org.