Are Higher Water Bills in Ocean Beach and Point Loma Due to Loss of Water in Pipe Repairs?

by on November 15, 2016 · 4 comments

in Environment, History, Life Events, Ocean Beach, San Diego, The Widder Curry

ob-water-in-streetIs It All Just a Coincidence?

By Judi Curry

You can’t live in Ocean Beach/Pt Loma and not notice the continual work being done on the water pipes throughout the entire neighborhood.  You can’t live in Ocean Beach/Pt. Loma and expect not to find detours where just yesterday you were able to drive right through.

You can’t live in Ocean Beach/Pt. Loma without noticing sand bags in front of drainage ditches on many of the residential streets of the area.  And you can’t live in Ocean Beach/Pt Loma without noticing the huge amount of water cascading down the streets.

So is it a coincidence that many of us received water bills this week that were higher than any previous month?  Is it any coincidence that those of us that have taken measures to reduce our water usage are appalled at the amount of our water bills for the months of September-November?

Looking at my own water bill I find that I am charged almost double of what I paid for the same time last year.  I called the Public Utilities department and they assured me that I am only being charged for the water that is being used on the property.  I was told that the amount of water being lost on the pipe repair is “not at all” the cause of my larger bill.  It was suggested that I contact the Residential Water Survey Department – 619-570-1999 – and have someone come out to check for leaks, and to make sure that I am not “overusing” the water.

But in the meantime, a posting by a local resident – Tanya – on “Next Door” asking if anyone else received a higher water bill this month has, so far, received over 28 responses, with 68% of the respondents stating their bill was higher; 25% responding no change; and 7% stating that they are not in the area where the pipes are being worked on.

Is it just a coincidence?

Who knows? But in an article I wrote several years ago when they were changing the pipes on Sunset Cliffs and Narragansett, I asked why the water could not be saved as it came out of the fire hydrants? Why did it have to run down the street.  I never received an answer to that question.  I don’t think I will receive an answer to this one either.

But in the meantime, the residents of the area are paying more for a commodity we are not using.  Let the Public Utilities commission know that you are upset with these prices.  It probably won’t do any good, but at least we will let them know we are not going to just let it go on without comment.  After all, this isn’t the first year that they have replaced the pipes. (And probably won’t be the last.)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

RB November 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm

You can read your own meter and compare it to the reading on the bill.
You can look for a leak on your side of the meter by turning off all water for 30-60 minutes. The meter reading should not change. Also if you have an irrigation system turn it off or check it. You can have a large leak in an irrigation pipe and not know it.

If the city has a leak, it does not go through your meter and you are not charged.

Water rates are going up and only a part of your bill is for water. What the city is doing, as we use less water, is increasing the fixed cost (called residential base fee) so they don’t lose revenues. I spent $38 for water and $59 for fixed water base fee and $58 for sewer……..High base fees protect big water users and hurt small water users.


Christo November 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Yes- your water bill is higher.

Look what you get when you google “San Diego Water Rates Increasing”



triggerfinger November 15, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Unless they are cutting into your line after the meter, there’s no way they can affect your meter.

Water is also extremely cheap. Each gallon costs about 7/10 of a penny. In fact meter fees and sewer fees account for about 75% of my water bill.

The city has to disinfect and flush out new water lines before putting them into service. If they run 30,000 gallons down the drain (enough to fill a swimming pool), that’s $220 worth of water going in the ocean. Transporting it to somewhere useful would cost more than the value of the water saved.

Water is a renewable resource, as very little of it is actually “used”. Most of it ends up back in the ground water or ocean. But the energy to treat it is not renewable.

Maybe the better question to ask is how much water people are using.. and why. My wife and I combined use about 75 gallons per day. This sounds like a lot… but is actually less than half the average San Diegan.


joe silverman November 15, 2016 at 8:52 pm

Several years ago when the city was repairing pipes in our area, the temporary pipes along the curbs released water running to the bay 24/7 for at least what seemed like a week. It looked like enough water to satisfy the needs of the entire neighborhood for a decade. Does the city have to pay water bills?


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