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Water rate increase approved for parts of Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties

CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency which provides water to unincorporated areas of South Santa Cruz County and North Monterey County approved a hefty rate increase.

No one ever wants to pay more for something like water, but in this case, the increase is needed to fund critical programs and projects. The proposed rate increase went to the board on April 21st and will be effective on December 1st of this year. It will help to bring in the revenue necessary to stop saltwater intrusion and eliminate groundwater overdraft. Two issues that are a major threat to everyone in the valley, should it continue to migrate inward.   

Brian Lockwood, General Manager and Hydrogeologist with The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, "We're all in a shared ground water basin so the domestic wells and municipal well that are pulling water for residents, is the same source of water that farmers are using to irrigate their fields."

Over the next five years, there will be a continued increase. Residents can expect to pay $48 more per year by 2025-26, and landowners $150 more per acre-foot.

A local farmer who will be paying more for water come December says prices for his produce may increase. Javer Zamra, Owner of JCM Organics in Royal Oaks, "It's unfair to have to pay for someone in the future. But, what we do has a big impact, especially growers. And what we do and how we treat the land and how we use our natural resources will have either a good or really bad negitive impact."

Lockwood mentioned, that one of the missions of The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency is to continue and preserve agriculture while at the same time reducing the impacts to the much-needed groundwater."

There is something both Lockwood and Zamra agreed on which was to get involved in your community. Attend meetings, read newsletters that are sent, and just be in the know before items like rate increases are implemented.

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.


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