Kauai water rates could increase
LIHUE » The Kauai Department of Water is holding a public hearing tomorrow to discuss a proposed rate increase that could top 42 percent over a five-year period.
Edward Tschupp, Water Department manager, said the increase will cover a projected $1 million shortfall in fiscal year 2006 and many construction projects to repair old lines.
"A lot of the island's pipelines are old and small," Tschupp said. "They need constant replacement."
The proposal takes the place of another increase, already passed by the county Board of Water Supply, that would have raised rates 32 percent starting Jan. 1.
The new proposal, Tschupp said, is "fair and equitable" and concentrates more on conservation, with the lowest water users paying the least amount of the increase.
It is also based on an independent water rate study that analyzed water usage and billing. The gradual rate increase more accurately depicts water consumers' "cost of service," Tschupp added.
If the proposed increase is passed by the Board of Water Supply at their Nov. 16 meeting, rates would raise 8.5 percent for each of the next five years, starting Jan. 1.
Currently, Kauai residential consumers who use under 10,000 gallons a month pay $2.10 per 1,000 gallons of water, with a $9 monthly service charge. That is higher than both Maui and Honolulu, and just a bit lower than the Big Island, according to department water comparisons.
Anyone wishing to comment on the increase can e-mail the Water Department at email@example.com or call 808-245-5455.