Pico Rivera sues PWD over 110% water rate hike

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The city of Pico Rivera filed a lawsuit on April 26 to challenge a projected 110% increase in water rates for residents and businesses, arguing the rate hikes are illegal because the Pico Water District has failed to justify them based on the actual cost of providing water service.

The city said PWD is raising the price of water over the next five years after a vote by the board of directors on Feb. 15, costing over $600,000.

“As Mayor of Pico Rivera, I am deeply concerned about the significant financial burden that the outrageous 110% hike in water rates imposed by the Pico Water District will place on our residents and businesses,” Pico Rivera Mayor Andrew Lara told KTLA.

The PWD covers about 30% of the city’s nearly 59,000 residents, about 90.5% of which identify as Latino.

Lara called the increase “unjustifiable,” pointing out that the higher rates came as the result of a 2023 study when such an examination of rates wasn’t expected until 2025.

Despite the study coming two years earlier than normal, the study’s authors, Water Resources Economics, suggested a 25% increase in the first year, followed by a 20% increase and three years of 12% annual increases. Over five years, water rates would increase by 110%.

“We believe that the District has failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the rate increase is necessary and justified, as required by the California Constitution,” Pico Rivera City Manager Steve Carmona said.

The city has asked the courts to stop the implementation of the rate hikes, urging the water district to reconsider.

“Our lawsuit seeks to protect the rights of our residents and hold the Pico Water District accountable for its actions. We are committed to fighting for fair and reasonable water rates that reflect the true cost of service provision and ensure the financial sustainability of our community.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.