The Widder Curry Says: ‘Water, Water Everywhere, But Too Expensive to Use’

by on September 19, 2017 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

In the past few days – probably after everyone received their new water bill, I have been inundated – not to be confused with the terrible floods on the east coast – with calls from people asking me if I saw a difference in my water bill this month.  Without exception, everyone that called found huge increases in spite of the fact that their water consumption had not increased.

For example, Marge was in the hospital for over 10 days; she is the only one living in her house, yet her bill went from $150 the previous billing cycle to $274 this time around.

Mary and her husband are the only ones living in their home and their bill is over $345 – an increase of over $80 dollars from the last time.

My bill was $329 this month, an increase of ONLY $50 from the previous month, but nothing has changed.  In fact, I had one less student for 14 days during this billing cycle.

And it goes on and on and on.

San Diego Water Authority approved “the smallest hike” in years.


We have all conserved since the drought and are not using as much water, yet we are paying much more for it.  It doesn’t make sense.  When the idea of a water rate hike was first mentioned, I sent letters to the City Council, along with the Water Authority, informing them that between my gas and electric bill and my mortgage I barely had enough for food for the month. And if I had medicines that I needed to purchase the food would have to be eliminated.  Have you ever eaten pasta without any sauce because it was too expensive to purchase the sauces to put on it.

I was asked if I thought that all of the water pipes that are being “updated” in San Diego might be a cause for the hike.  I don’t know about you, but I frequently see water running down the streets from where the work is being done.  I have seen little “gushers” on Santa Barbara Avenue that so easily could have been tapped and used at other places – like parks, and Ft. Rosecrans, etc.

While all this water is running to the ocean can that be the reason that is that causing our bills to rise. The Water Authority says “no”, but I find that hard to believe.  It was just a few bills ago that people along the Santa Barbara Avenue streets were complaining about their high bills.

When I think about my own consumption I am reminded that I have four 5 gallon bottles of water delivered every month.  I do not drink the San Diego tap water because I don’t like it and don’t like the taste or smell.  Those 4 gallons of water cost me an additional $35 a month.  And I buy bottled water to take with me and usually buy 4 cases at a time when I find it on sale for $2-5.  Figure that is another $10.

Roughly then, if I drank the water that comes from the tap that bill would go from $329 a month plus bottled water – $35 – plus individual water bottles – $10 to $374 a month.  Easily. And we do not shower every day.  And yes, I have a swimming pool that I add water to about every 6 weeks.  The water I add to the pool is nowhere near the amount of water that I would use if I just watered grass or trees or vegetables.

My water bill is 1/3 of what I receive from Social Security.  Another third goes for my gas and electricity; that sure doesn’t leave me much to live on.

Has anyone else noticed an increase? An increase that was foisted upon us because no one listened to those of us protesting at the meetings?  Anyone have a suggestion as to what can be done about it?

I’d sure like to hear them.  And I don’t want to hear snarky comments; I really want to hear constructive ideas that might make a difference in the long run.

I know that I am not alone.

Editor: See this 2016 post by Anna Daniels about new water bills for San Diego.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianne Lane September 19, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Our water bill went way up too, the highest it’s been in the last two years by about $75. Thought we were the only ones! I’ll be interested to find out what you learn.


Ruth September 19, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Don’t just look at the $ amount. Look at the average daily usage. If that goes up and you did not increase usage, go look at your meter. I have had 2 misread meters in the last year. One showed usage of 1,100 gallons a day! The last one showed about 400 when I usually use about 250 a day. A corrected bill was issued with a $43. credit.
Yes the rates have gone up too.


Christo September 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Water bills went up to cover the cost of infrastructure improvements that stabilize our water supply for the future. San Diego County is far ahead of most regions in California in doing this.

San Diego City Infrastructure? Not so much.

It’s not about the water you use, but how we get it.

Most parts of the country spend a rediculous amount on heating and/or cooling. We spend it on water.


Eric September 19, 2017 at 5:52 pm

As your water usage goes up so does your waste fee. I had a situation where they didn’t read my meter. They just guessed at what was used and extrapolated from previous bills. I had two empty studios for a couple months while we rehabbed the water and electrical to make them safer and more comfortable. I was billed according to the previous years usage. They never read the damned meters. Calls and legal threats were made. They fixed it pretty quick. Read your meters and check them against your bills, they’re kind of scummy.


joe September 19, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Have noted the extraordinary increase in the cost of water/sewer, especially after we installed xeriscape in our front yard. It would be interesting to know the implied cost of water use by SD City departments. I’ve noticed water running to the ocean in surface pipes for almost a week as a result of public works projects in our area. I’m not able to calculate the number of gallons that helped desalinize the Pacific Ocean.


Barbara September 19, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Our water lines were replaced along our street, a few years ago. When our section was complete the city bleeds the line and tests the water. Water gushed out of the their line for about three days. All of that water ran down the street to the storm drain. At the same time I’m reading articles in my water bill about conserving water & how to convert gray water. Why am I suppose to conserve & reuse water, when the city allows for so much waste? Water trucks could have filled up with this water for use at construction sites, parks, fountains… I don’t think our water costs much, I think we are funding waste & programs that even the city doesn’t use.


SunsetGuy September 28, 2017 at 2:36 pm

The next time you look at your water bill consider the salaries and pensions of the water district and MWD employees. The poor an middle class are being saddled with absolutely outrageous costs for the greedy “public servants.”


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