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South Bay water agency to vote on rate increases

Hundreds of thousands of South Bay residents on Tuesday are poised to find out whether or not they will have to pay more for water after the local water agency votes on a proposed rate hike.

Valley Water’s board of directors is expected to vote on a 12.9% rate increase for residents in the northern part of Santa Clara County that would add an extra $9 a month on average to water bills. Residents in the southern part of the county could see monthly increases of $1 to $3.20 on average.

Valley Water told NBC Bay Area the extra money is needed to pay for big projects like the seismic retrofit of Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill, which has ballooned in cost to $2.3 billion.

“Labor and materials, all those costs have skyrocketed in recent years,” Valley Water spokesman Matt Keller said. “So, of course, we have to pay for those. And we see those increases. But in reality our board has to balance the idea of, hey, what are the charges for water here in Santa Clara County, but also preparing for the future. We can’t let these infrastructure projects be delayed anymore. The longer we wait, the more they end up costing. So, this is really the cost effective way to get these projects done, is get them done now.”

The federal government mandated that the Anderson Reservoir dam, built in 1950, be retrofitted after studies found the structure could fail in a major earthquake and caused widespread flooding and destruction across Santa Clara Valley.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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