Water workshop for Tahoe City encourages conservation

Nick Cruit
Sierra Sun

TAHOE CITY ” The Tahoe City Public Utility District hosted the first of two drop-in information sessions Friday regarding the proposed rate increases to sewer and water utilities and how rate payers can better conserve water.

With the board room sectioned off into different information stations, rate payers had the opportunity to walk around the room and have their questions addressed by Utility District staff members.

Because many questions have been brought up throughout the 18-month public rate setting process, the Utility District had compiled and answered a list of frequently asked questions addressing issues ranging from the capital improvements needed to what the average customer will pay per month following the rate increase. And according to Alan Harry, Administrator of Planning and Public Works, the list is continually being updated on their website as more questions come in.

From there, rate payers could move on to Jim Dykstra, Director of Finance, and calculate what their water and sewer bill would be after the rate increase. According to Dykstra, the proposed rate structure ” based more on consumption than the current rate structure that begins charging for consumption after 25,000 gallons per quarter ” encourages rate payers to conserve.

“People are not encouraged to save water as long as they stay under the 25,000 gallon flat rate per quarter,” said Dykstra. “But under then new rate structure, every gallon of water you conserve results in savings on your bill.”

Rate payers could also speak with District Engineer, Matt Homolka, about the capital projects needed to improve the areas water and sewer systems.

“Parts of the water system are 40 to 60 years old and are reaching the end of their service life, are undersized or do not meet industry standards,” Homolka said. “A lot of the projects we are doing must be done because we are required to by mandates,” he added.

The five-year capital improvement plan has targeted 35 projects needed to improve the water system, a cost of $15.2 million, and 30 projects needed to improve the sewer system, a cost of $5.9 million.

– Water garden and lawn early in the morning rather than mid-day

– Fix leaky toilets and fixtures as soon as they are detected

– Take quick showers rather than full-tub baths

– Don’t let water run when brushing your teeth, washing or shaving your face

– Run dishwasher only with full loads

– Stopper the sink when rinsing fruits and vegetables

– Install a high-efficiency clothes washer can save 30 percent on water and 50 percent on energy

– Consider re-circulating hot water system

– Install low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucet aerators

All of the information presented at the information session is available on the Utility District’s website,, and will be presented again at their next session on Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rate payers are also encouraged to contact the Utility District with any questions or concerns they might have.

“Call us, we will make the time,” said Harry. “We’re here to serve our customers and we will make appointments to meet on the weekends if it will help clear up some of the information.”

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