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By Miriam Raftery

September 1, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) –If you're going to be a water hog, it's going to cost you.  But even those who have already conserved will see a water rise on their next bills. Homeowners and businesses in the Helix Water Distirct will be paying 21% more for water usage starting today.  Yet even before the rate hikes took effect, Helix customers were already cutting consumption—saving 13% on water usage in July.

“You’re getting less, but you’re going to pay more,” Helix Water Board President Richard Smith told ratepayers at a public hearing last month, when the Board voted to approve the new rate plan. Helix scrapped an earlier proposal that would have levied much higher price hikes on owners of large properties, after a joint investigative report by East County Magazine and Channel 10 news revealed allegations that the Board violated state open government laws.


The District has said the rate hikes are needed because the San Diego County Water Authority has cut the District’s water allocation by 8% and because water wholesale rates have shot up 25.4%. Helix has also imposed additional requirements to foster conservation, including asking customers without water-saving irrigation equipment to water only three days a week. Helix has also told some 900 irrigation customers that their rates will go up sharply if they exceed new water allotments.

Countywide, rate hikes coupled with restrictions on watering schedules and conservation incentives are having an impact. In June and July, the most recent months for which figures are available, water use dropped 21% and 16% respectively, according to the County Water Authority. Conservation rates ran as high as 22% in Poway, with most East County water districts showing double-digit reductions.

Some communities don’t seem to have gotten the message that there’s a water shortage. In Del Mar, water use dropped a scant 4%, while residents of Rainbow actually increased their water usage by 5%.


Conserve water - EVERY DROP counts this year!

It's always a good idea to use water wisely in San Diego County, but it's especially important right now. Water resources in Southern California are more limited than ever. Ninety-percent of the region's water is imported from either the Colorado River or Northern California through the State Water Project. Historic dry conditions in California, coupled with the pumping restrictions on plants providing water to Southern California, make it essential for residents and businesses to increase conservation efforts.The more water that is saved now, the more water San Diego County water agencies will have in storage to meet future demands. If each person in your household can save 20 gallons or more a day, that will significantly help the region get through this challenging time. And saving water is easier than you might think. A few simple changes can make a big difference in your water usage – as well as your water bill!
Helix people are trying their level best to save water and to stop the price hike of water.The San Diego country water agencies are also educating people about how to save water and make the maximum use of water by various video programmes by the use of high end washing machines etc.

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