I find it ironic that Yes on P signs say “fair rates for all” when the opposite is true. If Measure P passes and the CBFR rates are rejected, less-well-off households will, on average, be subsidizing more-well-off households, specifically those with larger lawns and/or swimming pools, which require a considerable amount of water in warmer months. In my opinion, the CBFR rates have simply not been explained clearly, so let me give that a try.
First, water doesn’t intrinsically cost anything. You could go to the Sacramento River, crouch down and drink its water for free. The great majority of the cost of our water in the future will be making payments on the loan needed to cover the cost of the infrastructure required to take water out of the river, purify it and pipe it to Davis.
The capacity of this infrastructure has to be large enough so that water will flow out of our taps anytime we turn them on, which means it has to meet peak demand. Peak demand occurs in the warmer months when those who have lawns have to water them and those who have swimming pools have to keep them filled.
If nobody had lawns or pools, the infrastructure required to meet the demand for water would be much smaller and much less costly. It is only fair that the folks who benefit from a larger infrastructure should pay their fair share of that cost based on their water usage in the warmer months.
The CBFR rates accomplish this by averaging everyone’s usage over the six warmest months of the year and using that average as the basis for charging each consumer his or her fair share of the infrastructure loan cost over the next year. This is recalculated every year.
I personally have lawns in both front and back yards as well as a swimming pool. So, if you’d like to subsidize the watering of my lawns and keeping my swimming pool filled, vote yes on P. However, I’d suggest that, to have truly fair rates for all, you vote no.