Crazy California’s proclivity for “governance by voter initiative” seems to have just undercut one of the major tools in the municipal water conservation kit.
Tiered water rates, in which residents are charged a low rate for basic needs and increasingly higher rates for high usage, violate California law, according to a court ruling handed down today. Matt Stevens in the L.A. Times:
[T]he 4th District Court of Appeal struck down San Juan Capistrano’s fee plan, saying it violated voter-approved Proposition 218, which prohibits government agencies from charging more for a service than it costs to provide it.
“We do hold that above-cost-of-service pricing for tiers of water service is not allowed by Proposition 218 and in this case, [the city] did not carry its burden of proving its higher tiers reflected its costs of service,” the court said in its ruling.