Newport Beach Set to Consider Water Rate Hike


The Newport Beach Civic Center.

Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at

The Newport Beach City Council Nov. 19 will consider an initial 7.4% water rate hike, which, if approved, is expected to generate about $1 million in fiscal year 2020.

According to a staff report, a recent water rate study found that without the rate increase, the city’s water enterprise fund’s “reserve balances would dip below the minimum target over the next few years.” The funds generated from the water increase would go toward the rising cost of purchasing and pumping water, operational expenses and replacement of aging infrastructure.

Water rates have not increased in Newport Beach since 2014. If approved, starting Jan. 1, water rates will increase 7.4% each year until 2024. After 2024, the proposal calls for water rates to rise by 2.5% each year until 2029.

The average household, using 10 billing units, can expect a $3.38 per month increase in its water bill for the first year, according to a staff report. A billing unit equals 749 gallons.

California law requires municipalities to hold a hearing at least 45 days after notifying all property owners about a proposed fee. In the absence of a majority of property owners objecting to a rate change, the City Council may adjust the rate, according to the staff report.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.