SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council voted 5-3 on Tuesday to approve water rate increases of nearly 20%.

Water rates will now go up 5% starting on Dec. 1, then increase another 5.2% on July 1, 2024, according to city officials. A last increase of 8.7% overall will take effect on Jan. 1, 2025.  

The decision will impact roughly 300,000 San Diegans, with the average resident paying an extra $12 a month, Mayor Todd Gloria said.

City officials have said the reason for the hike is increased rates from the San Diego County Water Authority, the region’s water wholesaler, that are being passed down to the customers, plus treatments and infrastructure.

“A cost-of-service study conducted last year found that if the City’s water rates remained unchanged, there wouldn’t be enough revenue to provide necessary water services for the next two years,” the city said.

Juan Guerreiro, director of the city’s public utilities department, claims “the City currently purchases 85% to 90% of all its drinking water,” and that they “work diligently to find ways to keep costs down for our customers.”

“This necessary increase will allow us to continue our investments in replacing and rehabilitating our pipelines and maintain reliable water service for the residents of San Diego,” Guerreiro said.  

Gloria said the water authority had initially proposed a 14% increase, but the city was able to negotiate them down to a 9% increase in rates.

San Diego resident Maria Lopez told FOX 5 that she has to get another job because “it’s so hard right now.”

“We are seven living in a two-bedroom apartment, we are three people working and we still have difficulty to pay the rent,” Lopez gave her thoughts to city council. “We are hardworking people and we are not lazy and we cannot pay the bills, the water, the lights, the rent everything’s going up.”

FOX 5’s Zara Barker contributed to this story.