I walked past this headline a few days ago:
East Bay drought draws to close, rates headed sharply higher
Unfortunately, the headline (which Mike Taugher probably did NOT write) is not as good as it sounds. In fact, it's the same old (annoying) story...
The way I wanted to interpret it was "drought ends as rates rise" but the way it should have been written is "EBMUD gets a lucky increase in supplies but raises rates to make up for revenue shortfalls as a result of customers water conservation."
[Yeah, that second one IS a bit long...]
Anyway, it's that old problem of fixed costs and variable revenue.
The proper way to deal with a drought is to raise prices FIRST and then let customers cut back their use. That way, people respond to higher prices (by reducing demand) AND the utility does not experience a revenue shortfall.
I will be writing more on this idea and Prop 218 in the near future.
Bottom Line: My job will be done when water "shortages" end. That could happen tomorrow if we charged more when water is scarce.