Will Santa Monica Raise Water Rates?

The city of Santa Monica wants residents and business owners to reduce their water use by 20% from their 2013 levels. If they do they won't have to pay more. If they don't, over 5 years, the fees will increase 9% in 2015 and 13% for each of the following four years for a compounded total of as much as 78%.

For some like landlord Scott Kelso, who wouldn't be able to pass it on to his renters because of the city's rent control laws, "It's unfair and it's an over-reach by the city."

But, the city says we have a water crisis in California and given the volatility of the state's water situation and the need to encourage deeper conservation efforts, hikes are needed.

Stan Fox, who owns 3 Santa Monica Laundromats, says if the Santa Monica City Council approves the water rate hike it could be bad news for his business. Says Fox, "Our business depends on water. That's what we're selling."

Santa Monica Assistant City Manager Martin Pastucha agrees the proposed hike "is very steep but again if you're at the lower level... you don't have to cut back your water." But, use more residents and business owners will pay more. There are some 22,000 water customers in Santa Monica.

The council will take on the proposal Tuesday night at its regular meeting.