BEVERLY HILLS—The Beverly Hills City Council has voted to increase water rates to residents to cover the higher rates being charged by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD).


According to a press release from the City of Beverly Hills, during the August 5 meeting, the City Council gave the thumbs up to approve a 2 percent rate increase for the fiscal year 2014-15.


With the increase, customers can expect to see an additional $4.50 a month on their bill. The severe drought in the state of California has affected water usage and led to an increase in rates for customers. The City recently implemented fines to residents for violations of outdoor watering restrictions.


The new regulations impose fines that reach up to $500 for wasting water. As of August 1, runoff from outdoor sprinklers and using a watering hose to clear leaves and debris from driveways, sidewalks and streets is now prohibited. Drinking water will be prohibited in non-circulation fountains.


Residents living north of Santa Monica Boulevard can water their gardens only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Those residents who live south of Santa Monica Boulevard can water their gardens only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Outdoor watering is banned everyday between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays.


The MWD board previously voted to raise the wholesale water rate by 3.6 percent in 2014/2015. The BH City Council accepted the Public Works Commission’s recommendation to offset the costs to consumers by utilizing reserve funds. This one-year only rate spike was approved because of the changing water demands. Other changes that could impact water rates in the future include a new rate structure to encourage conservation, capital projects and MWD future cost increases.


“As average consumption drops due to necessary conservation, the cost per unit rises because water agencies must continue to cover fixed costs such as pipeline maintenance,” states the press release.