2019 Water & Sewer Rate Study

The Tahoe City Public Utility District is dedicated to a transparent public rate setting process guided by the principles set forth in TCPUD Financial Policy No. 2050, Establishing Water and Sewer Rates and Fees Policy, and in compliance with state laws and guidelines, including Article XIII D of the California Constitution, commonly referred to as Proposition 218. 


As part of the TCPUD’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and long-term financial planning, the TCPUD’s current approved water and sewer rate structure is being evaluated for financial sustainability. TCPUD retained an independent rate consultant, HDR Engineering, Inc., to perform a comprehensive water and sewer rate study (2019 Rate Study) for the next 5-year period. The 2019 Rate Study is intended to result in an equitable and cost-based water and sewer rate structure and ensure sufficient revenues to fund water and seweroperations and capital infrastructure needs throughout the TCPUD service area.


Proposed Water and Sewer Rates, 2020-2014

On July 22 and August 6, 2019, the TCPUD Board held public meetings on the 2019 Rate Study’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations to solicit public comment. At the August 16 TCPUD Board meeting, the Board authorized the proposed 5-year water and sewer rate schedule to be considered at the public hearing on October 18, 2019.


For more detailed information on the proposed rate increases:

DRAFT Comprehensive Water & Sewer Rate Study (PDF)

Proposition 218 Notice with Proposed Rate Changes (PDF)

Rate Study FAQ (PDF)

Long Term Financial Planning + Policies


Rate Study Public Meeting Presentations:

1/18/19: Setting Cost-Based Utility Rates (PDF)

6/21/19: 2019 Water & Sewer Rate Study Considerations and Assumptions (PDF)

7/22/19: 2019 Water & Sewer Rate Study Draft Study Results and Recommendations (PDF)

8/6/19: 2019 Water & Sewer Rate Study Draft Study Results and Recommendations (PDF)

8/16/19:  2019 Water & Sewer Rate Study Final Study Results and Recommendations (PDF)


Purpose of the 2019 Rate Study

  • Set maximum annual water and sewer rates for the next 5-year period (2020-2024)
  • Provide sufficient revenues to operate, maintain, and invest in our water and sewer infrastructure
    • Self-supporting – rate revenue fully funds current operations
    • Funds capital infrastructure needs
    • Funds ongoing renewal and replacement
  • Develop equitable and cost-based rates for all of our customers
  • Execute a prudent fiscal planning process
  • Comply with Proposition 218 requirements

As a public water and sewer provider, TCPUD can only charge its customers for the costs associated with providing water and sewer service.All revenue generated by water rates can only be used for water services and related capital investments. Conversely, the same is true for sewer rates.


Assumptions of the 2019 Rate Study

The philosophical approach of TCPUD is to maintain a unified water system across our entire service area that equitably distributes the cost of current and future system needs, achieves the highest service standards, and provides all our customers with the benefit of an economy of scale for the operation, maintenance, and infrastructure investments in our water system district-wide. With this unified approach, the 2019 Rate Study assumes:

  • A single cost of service analysis district-wide
  • A single rate structure for all customers (i.e. no seasonal rates)
  • Rate revenue will not be sufficient to cover full water capital infrastructure needs
  • Customers in the Tahoe Cedars and Madden Creek Water Systems, acquired by TCPUD in January 2018, will transition to TCPUD water rates over time


Challenges of the 2019 Rate Study

TCPUD operates over 300 miles of sewer and water lines, 22 sewer pump stations, 6 booster pump stations, 15 water storage tanks, 14 water wells, and 1 temporary surface water treatment plant.  Capital infrastructure investments are needed throughout our service area, including significant improvements for the aging and failing infrastructure associated with the acquisition of three water systems in January 2018; Timberland, Tahoe Cedars, and Madden Creek.

Funding for future capital improvements will be evaluated through the TCPUD’s long-term financial planning process as current water and sewer rate revenue will not be sufficient to cover our full utility capital infrastructure needs. Possible additional funding sources include property tax, grants, financing, and special assessments.


Schedule of Public Meetings (subject to change)

The TCPUD Board will be discussing the 2019 Rate Study at regularly scheduled Board meetings and a special Board meetings on July 22 at 1pm and August 6 at 9am. As always, our customers are encouraged to attend these public meetings. All TCPUD Board meetings can also be viewed online at tcpud.org. Prior to adoption of a new rate structure later this year, a Public Hearing will be held on October 18, 2019, and every parcel owner impacted by any proposed rate change will be notified and invited to attend the public hearing.


Public Meeting Dates:

  • July 22, 1pm – Special Board Meeting to review draft 2019 Rate Study results and recommendations
  • August 6, 9am – Special Board Meeting to review draft 2019 Rate Study results and recommendations
  • August 16, 8:30am – Board Meeting, Issue Prop 218 notice
  • September 17, 5:30pm-7pm – Public Community Workshop #1
  • September 19, 11:30am-1pm – Public Community Workshop #2
  • October 18, 8:30am – Board Meeting, Public Hearing to start at 9am
  • November 22, 8:30am – Board Meeting, Rate Adoption

All Meetings will take place in the TCPUD Board Room at 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City.


For more information on the 2019 Rate Study process, please contact Stacie Lyans, Community Engagement Analyst, at 530.580.6057 or slyans@tcpud.org.