City of Hanford may be forced to raise water rates

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- City leaders across the Central Valley are asking people to use less water. Now, a South Valley city is noticing the water shortage is impacting its bottom line.

Hanford Public Works says people are using up to 14 percent less water. That means they're collecting less money each month, and now they're looking at raising rates to make up the difference.

Browning lawns are becoming more of a trend in the city of Hanford. People are cutting back following the city's request to conserve. But that means the city's public works department is receiving less money each month. They believe they're going to have to raise rates.

"Our revenues are based on how much water we sell, and so when we conserve we use less water, therefore revenues drop," Hanford Public Works Director Lou Camara said.

Camara says people are using up to 14 percent less water, and the state has asked them to conserve another 14 percent. That will mean even less money going to things like pumping water from the ground and getting it to customers. The city also has to pay to chlorinate the water system to get rid of debris.

"We're all faced with the price of water is going to go up," said Camara.

Most people aren't thrilled with the idea of paying more. Pete Sandau has already let his grass die, and his plants are on drip irrigation.

"I'm hoping they wouldn't because I'm actually not using my swimming pool either at this point. I'm just letting that go dry as well," said Sandau.

Camara says rates haven't gone up since 2007 for city users. He adds that this day was coming. Now, it just looks like it's coming sooner rather than later.

Next up there will be a water study done and any proposed water rate increases will be presented to water users later this year.

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