California Court of Appeal Ruling Clarifies Rate Setting Standard for Cities and Water Districts

Costa Mesa, Calif.; April 20, 2015 – Today’s ruling by the Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth District), determines that water rates must comply with a fair and predictable standard based on the cost of service. Mesa Water submitted an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit between the Capistrano Taxpayers Association and the City of San Juan Capistrano.

California public water providers use a number of different rate structures, including tiered rates, uniform volumetric rates, water budget based rates, and others. Mesa Water uses a uniform volumetric rate structure. 

According to Paul Shoenberger, Mesa Water General Manager, “The Fourth District’s opinion provides clarity and consistency for public water providers regarding the criteria needed to formulate fair rates for water service.”

Due to the drought and the state’s stressed water supplies, water districts and cities are required to find ways to conserve water under an array of rate structures.  By employing wise water use practices, leak detection, education, and rebate incentives, Mesa Water’s service area is effectively reducing its water use.

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About Mesa Water

Founded on January 1, 1960, and governed by a publicly-elected, five-member Board of Directors, Mesa Water is an independent special district that provides water service to 110,000 residents in an 18-square-mile service area that includes most of Costa Mesa, a portion of Newport Beach, and John Wayne Airport. Mesa Water provides 100 percent local reliable groundwater to its customers due to the Mesa Water Reliability Facility. Visit, follow @MesaWater on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, email, or call 949.631.1200 to learn more.