Our 2023 Water and Sewer Rate Study (available at www.twainhartecsd.com) shows that current rate revenues are not sufficient to cover water and sewer services costs over the next five years. In order to continue providing quality, reliable services, the District needs to collect enough rate revenue to cover costs for operations (keeping the system running) capital projects (replacing degrading pipelines), debt service (loans for past projects) and adequate reserves (cash flow and emergencies).
The proposed rates cover these costs, which have primarily increased for the following reasons:
TUD Rate Increases
We purchase untreated water from Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) and also pay them to treat our sewage. Therefore, TUD’s recent adoption of substantial 5-year rate increases directly impacts our rates. Our current rates cannot not cover these increases.
A significant rise in inflation has greatly increased the cost of providing water and sewer services. Since our last rate increase, CPI inflation has risen by more than 18%. Construction costs have also inflated by 40% in California. Our current rates cannot absorb these increases.
Deteriorating Pipelines and Facilities
The American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. water and sewer infrastructure a “C-/D+” grade. This poor grade primarily results from worn-out pipelines that frequently leak (water) or back-up (sewer). Most agencies have not saved the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to replace their entire systems, which will eventually fail.
Recent grant-funded condition assessments show that our systems are no different: worn-out and beyond their useful life. Realizing we cannot afford to replace everything at once, the District has identified reasonable, bite-sized projects that replace the highest risk parts of our system first. The proposed rates cover the costs to undertake these projects.