The City of Fullerton is committed to providing safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water to more than 144,000 residents and the businesses we serve. The City operates more than 420 miles of pipe, maintains 67.5 million gallons of storage, monitors more than 100 compounds by taking 4,000 samples annually, and supplies over 8 billion gallons of water annually.
The City manages all of this with a deteriorating system that has aged beyond its useful service life. Most of these pipes and facilities were installed in the 1950s and 1960s with the oldest pipe dating back to 1914. Because of the age and deterioration of the system, City staff repairs an average of 100 pipeline breaks per year which are highly disruptive to our customers. Additionally, staff responds to and fixes multiple well and pump failures every year.
Why do a Water Rate Study?
The water rate study was completed in 2019 and includes a phased five-year rate increase. The programmed water rates were designed to meet anticipated maintenance and operation costs while providing sufficient funding for water system related upgrades and replacement projects.
As a public water provider, the City can only charge its customers for the costs associated with providing water service; the City cannot earn a profit. When determining the proposed water rates, the City prioritizes:
Treating all customers fairly and proportioning rates equitably
Reflecting the true cost of service
Maintaining legal defensibility
Protecting the water system’s financial stability and its ability to provide high-level service
Maintaining, upgrading and fixing aging pipelines, wells, pump stations, reservoirs, etc.
City staff worked with a Water Rate Study Ad Hoc Committee (made up of six at-large Fullerton residents that served on the Energy and Resource Management Committee and the Citizens’ Infrastructure Review Committee) to review the water system, its funding, and evaluate multiple alternative capital improvement program (CIP) project schedules. These CIP alternatives were studied with the goal of balancing the need to address critical pipeline and well replacement while minimizing water rate increases.
Eight Ad Hoc Committee meetings were held from August 2018 through March 2019. The public was invited to attend all meetings including an evening meeting held on December 5, 2018 to allow for more public input.