Court Ruling on Water Pricing Threatens California's Conservation Efforts

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The California Aqueduct on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley north of Los Banos. March 2015.  (Dan Brekke/KQED)

A Southern California appeals court ruled earlier this week that San Juan Capistrano's tiered water rates are unconstitutional. The city had been charging its heaviest water users nearly four times what it costs to provide the water in hopes of spurring conservation. The decision could have statewide implications as about two-thirds of California's water districts use tiered pricing. Gov. Jerry Brown recently encouraged local water agencies to utilize tiered pricing to help meet a 25 percent reduction in water use.


Paul Rogers, managing editor of KQED Science and environment writer for the San Jose Mercury News