Quick Take:

Rural residents and farmers are expected to pay more for water in five yearly rate increases to pay for capital projects to supplement water supply.

In advance of two major water-conservation projects, Pajaro Valley farmers are going to have to pay more for their water.

The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency announced on Tuesday that it was adopting new rates so it has enough money to fund two new conservation projects to fortify the agency’s supplemental water supply and to fight saltwater intrusion into the valley’s overdrawn aquifers.

The rate increase, to go into effect Dec. 1, will be the first of five rate increases to be implemented each fiscal year until 2025-26. The second increase will hit on July 1, 2022, and every July 1 thereafter, with the final increase hitting on July 1, 2025.

One of the conservation projects would use to increase the storage capacity of College Lake, northeast of Watsonville, which could be used as an alternative to groundwater for agricultural irrigation. Another project would divert water flow into the Watsonville saltwater-marsh slough system to use as another option for agricultural use. Both projects are designed to bolster PV Water’s supplemental water supply.

The rates for rural residents in the Pajaro Valley will rise from $115 annually to $123 in the first rate increase. That rate will gradually increase to $163 by 2025. For farmers in the agency’s water delivery zones, the quarterly rates will increase from $392 per acre foot to $412 in 2021. Subsequent increases would bring that total up to $501 by 2025.

For more information on the rate increases, go to PV Water’s website. Also, The Pajaronian has covered the PVWMA water rates issue extensively; to read its report about the increases’ reach and impacts, go here.

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