On an annual basis, West Basin reviews and adopts its water rates.
Water Rates Explained
West Basin Municipal Water District is a wholesale water agency that manages the water supply for 17 coastal Los Angeles cities. West Basin ensures that a reliable supply of high quality water is available to the communities it serves.
Most of Southern California uses a mixture of imported water and local water supplies consisting of groundwater (well water), conserved water, recycled water and other supplies. In Southern California, approximately half of the water used is imported from 200-400 miles away and the other half comes from local water supplies.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) procures water from the State Water Project and imports water from the Colorado River to provide supplies to West Basin’s service area. Metropolitan’s water rates pay for the treatment of drinking water, the operation and maintenance of treatment facilities, conveyance structures, energy costs and other fees needed to bring water hundreds of miles from Northern California and the Colorado River.
Retail Water Providers
West Basin sells water to nine separate water agencies and companies, or retail water providers: California American Water, California Water Service Company, Golden State Water Company, Los Angeles County Waterworks District 29, the cities of El Segundo, Inglewood, Lomita and Manhattan Beach, and the Water Replenishment District.
Depending on the city in which you live, your provider will have access to a mix of imported water, local groundwater, conserved water and recycled water for your community. Each water source has a different cost, and subsequently, your water rates vary.
Reliability Service Charge
West Basin’s cost to manage the water supply for coastal Los Angeles is called a Reliability Service Charge (RSC). This cost is added to the imported water rates charged by Metropolitan. West Basin’s RSC is generally a small part of overall water costs, accounting for approximately 10% of local water costs.
The RSC makes water reliability possible. West Basin offers local water reliability programs that include recycled water and conservation programs, as well as ocean water desalination research, to increase locally-controlled and drought-proof supplies of water. During times of water shortages and rationing, West Basin customers are less likely to be subjected to increased costs for water (sometimes two or three times normal rates) due to the water savings and investments in recycling and conservation programs.
The Standby Charge is considered each year at a public hearing. Originally adopted in 1991 to support the development of a new, local water supply – recycled water – the Standby Charge continues to pay for West Basin’s growing, world-class recycled water program. To date, West Basin has produced nearly 250 billion gallons of recycled water to offset imported water, diversify local supplies, and provide environmental benefits for Santa Monica Bay. Read more about the District’s Recycled Water Program.
To review the Standby Charge Policy visit the West Basin Administrative Code: Part 4. Financial Matters, Chapter 1. Administrative Matters, Article 8. Standby Charge Policy.
Providing value is a high priority for the agency. West Basin is always looking for ways to keep costs down, find funding partners, be as efficient as possible, and keep rates fair. For example, West Basin was able to secure outside investment for one-third of its recycling facilities. West Basin’s conservation programs also provide $3 worth of programs to the community for each $1 West Basin contributes.
West Basin’s rate increases are generally to pay for increased costs of chemicals and energy; facility replacement and refurbishment; water use efficiency programs; and to research new local water supply sources.