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Introduction to Budget-Based Water Rates Workshop

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

City of Redwood City Council Chambers

1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA

Free – Register at



Introduce history, principles, and ways to approach the development of budget-based water rates.

Learn how incorporating budget-based water rates into your agency’s rate structure can achieve

water savings.




The participants should leave the workshop with an introductory understanding of:

·         What budget-based water rates are

·         How to implement budget-based water rates

·         Case Studies


Workshop Attendees are likely to be:

·         City / Water Agency Staff

·         Elected Officials

·         Environmental NGOs

·         Interested citizens

Agenda / Timing


Agenda Item





1:00 – 1:15

Panel Discussion

This will be a moderated panel discussion including brief presentations and responses to specific questions.

1:15 – 2:15

Audience Questions

The audience will have the opportunity to have their questions answered by the expert panelists.

2:15 – 3:00



A panel of leading experts will focus on the varying structures of budget-based water rates.  Other

topics will include specific case studies, strategies for presenting a budget-based water rate structure

to decision makers, tips on educating customers, and lessons learned. 


Tom Ash

Tom Ash has over 25 years of experience in the fields of water use efficiency, public education and

horticulture. He was instrumental in the design and implementation of the first water budget tiered

rate structure for Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) in 1991. The IRWD rate design has been

described as “the model” for such rates in the US by the EPA and resulted in a 61% reduction in

landscape water use, reduced non-point source water pollution, stable agency revenues, and increased

the customer satisfaction rate to over 90%.


Dan Muelrath

Daniel Muelrath is the Water Resources Sustainability Manager for the City of Santa Rosa Utilities

Department.  His responsibilities include the implementation of the City’s Real-time ETo Budget Based

Rate for irrigation meters which has resulted in large landscapes irrigating to 50% of local ETo.


Juliet Christian-Smith

Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith is a Senior Research Associate with the Pacific Institute's Water Program. Her

interests include agricultural water uses, comparative analyses of water governance structures, water

reuse, and climate change.


Steve Toler

Steve Toler is the Assistant City Manager of the City of Foster City and the Estero Municipal

Improvement District. He was instrumental in implementing a conservation-based water rate structure

in Foster City, including tiered water rates for residential properties and water budgets for irrigation

customers.  Since 2010, Foster City has reduced its water consumption by over 20%.



This event is offered FREE of charge. Please RSVP by January 11, 2013.  


City of Redwood City
Tuolumne River Trust
Wholly H2O
Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency