THOUSAND OAKS : New Water Rate System Advances

The Thousand Oaks City Council has given conceptual approval to a tiered water rate system that would encourage residential households to conserve.

Under the new system given preliminary approval Tuesday night, customers who use an average amount of water--about 27,000 gallons--would save $1.40 on their bimonthly bill.

Those who go through double the number of gallons would see their bills jump $7.60.

"While not in a drought, we are in a period of ever-increasing water costs," Utilities Director Donald Nelson said. "What this really allows is for an individual customer to have more control of his water bill."

Mayor Elois Zeanah objected to the tiered system, arguing that wonders of large lots would be penalized because they need more water to maintain landscaping.

But the proposal passed 4 to 1. The council will hold a public hearing on the new rates next month.

The new system replaces a flat rate of $1.54 per unit, where one unit equals 748 gallons. Under the tiered system, the first 26 units of water would cost $1.39 and each additional unit would be charged at $1.79. Average residential use is 36 units per bimonthly billing period.

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