2019 Water & Sewer Rate Study

In early 2019, the TCPUD Board of Directors initiated a comprehensive 5-year Water and Sewer Rate Study (2019 Rate Study) to establish an equitable and cost-based water and sewer rate structure and ensure sufficient revenues are available to fund water and sewer operations and capital infrastructure needs throughout the TCPUD service area. 

As a commitment to open communication and transparency in the rate setting process, the TCPUD held numerous public meetings on the 2019 Rate Study’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations to solicit public comment. Following this extensive outreach, the TCPUD Board adopted a 5-year water and sewer rate structure at the conclusion of the Public Hearing on October 18, 2019.

The 2019 Rate Study was guided by the principles set forth in the 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.

For more detailed information on the adopted rate increases:

Ordinance 302: Sewer Rate Amendment (modifying Ordinance 300) (PDF)

Ordinance 301: Water Rate Amendment (modifying Ordinance 299) (PDF)

Ordinance 300: Establishing Sewer Rates for the Years 2020-2024 (PDF)

Ordinance 299: Establishing Water Rates for the Years 2020-2024 (PDF)

Resolution 19-30: Establishing Water Rates for Tahoe Cedars and Madden Creek Customers (PDF)

TCPUD 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

The TCPUD Board reviewed the 2019 Rate Study at regularly scheduled Board meetings and a special Board meetings on July 22 at 1pm and August 6 at 9am. All TCPUD Board meetings can also be viewed online at tcpud.org. Prior to adoption of a new rate structure, a Public Hearing was 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 held in the TCPUD Board Room at 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City.

For more information on the 2019 Rate Study process, please contact Kim Boyd, Director of Strategic Affairs, at 530.580.6286 or kboyd@tcpud.org