Sacramento County supervisors voted this morning to raise water rates this year and next, saying they're needed to pay for treatment improvements.
The increase will add $7 to the bimonthly bill of an average residential customer starting next month and another $5 on July 1, 2014.
The increases will apply to about 50,000 customers receiving service from the Sacramento County Water Agency, which provides water either directly or to agencies that deliver water service. The agency provides water service to nearly all of the unincorporated areas in south Sacramento County, as well as all of Rancho Cordova and about half of Elk Grove.
The main reason for the increase is construction of the $200 million Vineyard Surface Water Treatment Plant, which has reduced the county's dependence on groundwater by treating water diverted from the Sacramento River, said Michael Peterson, director of the county Department of Water Resources.
The other major reason for the increase is the decline in developer fees because of the lack of construction in recent years, he said.
Supervisors received 57 letters from customers protesting the rate increase.
Supervisors Don Nottoli and Susan Peters said they were reluctant to support the increases, but they said they saw little choice to keep the agency financially stable.
"I continue to be concerned about the size of the bill," Nottoli said.
Call The Bee's Brad Branan, (916) 321-1065. Follow him on Twitter @bradb_at_sacbee.