The Tuolumne Utilities District board voted Tuesday night to raise water rates 2.78 percent, effective starting in March.
Board members voted 5-0 to approve the rate increase that was originally scheduled to take effect July 1, 2013, before the board's March decision to defer the hike.
The district's situation with the drought prompted the board to reconsider that decision, in order to salvage the estimated $260,000 in annual revenue generated by the increase.
"This was a way to bring in some funds while myself and the rest of the staff get a better handle on these costs and how we might be able to make them up," said TUD General Manager Tom Scesa.
The district is expecting to incur $3 million in drought-related expenses, such as building water treatment plants, activating wells and purchasing water. Meanwhile, revenue losses due to cutbacks in water usage could total $2 million.
An average residential customer will pay $1.20 more per month for water service with the increase. The average monthly bill for a residential customers is currently $43.32.
The rates will kick in after a 30-day notification period.
For the full story see today's Union Democrat.