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Archived News Release from 2009

For Immediate Release
City Council to Consider Water and Sewer Rate Increases

Redwood City, CA - May 5, 2009 - Over the last several years, Redwood City has found it necessary to modestly increase both water and sewer service rates each year, in order to continue to fund the maintenance and operation of reliable, long-term water and sewer systems for the community. Due to continually increasing costs of providing these services, these annual increases are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This year, the City Council will be considering moderate adjustments (an average of about 9% for residents) to water and sewer rates.

The City Council will consider the proposed rate increases at a public hearing on June 1st, 2009, beginning at 7 pm. The City has already mailed out public hearing notices to property owners, as required by law. The public hearing and rate increase processes are fully explained in the mailer that went out, as well as on the City’s web page at  Any formal protests must be received by the City by June 1st, 2009. Written protests may also be submitted in person at the hearing on June 1st.

If approved by the Council, the new water rates will be effective on July 22nd. All bills generated on or after that date will be impacted by the new rates. Because of the City’s bi-monthly billing cycle, for some customers the new rates will apply to water used as of July 1st. More information is available at

The proposed water rate increases are largely a result of significant projected increases in the wholesale cost of water from the City’s water supplier (the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission). That wholesale cost increase is projected at nearly 16% this year. The City must pass these cost increases along to our customers to enable the City to continue to provide the most reliable and efficient water supply for our community possible, both for existing customers and for the generations of the future. Unfortunately, these wholesale water cost increases are expected to continue as the Hetch Hetchy pipeline rebuilding project gains momentum, so Redwood City and its customers will continue to see additional annual rate increase proposals in the future.

Over the coming years, increased sewer system funding is necessary for the repair and replacement of aging City sewer infrastructure - many of the City’s sewer pipelines are over 70 years old and approaching the end of their useful life. This will help to ensure that the community continues to have safe and reliable sewer service. The City also faces new costs for state-mandated preventative maintenance programs.

Additionally, the South Bayside System Authority (SBSA - a regional wastewater treatment facility where Redwood City’s waste water is treated) is embarking on over $340 million of long-term capital needs projects. Based on Redwood City’s share of wastewater flow to the SBSA facility, the City will be required to fund about $94 million in projects at the treatment plant over the next decade, including $72 million of high-priority projects within the next five years. These projects are needed to replace old facilities and enable the regional sewer plant to meet new, stricter wastewater permit requirements. The cost of funding Redwood City’s portion of these critical projects must also be incorporated into sewer rates. Visit SBSA's website at

Visit Redwood City’s award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City’s newsletters or other City documents at


Justin Ezell
Public Works Superintendent


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