Squaw Valley Going After Water Wasters

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A Sierra Nevada ski resort community is going after water wasters.

To head off an impending water shortage, the Squaw Valley Public Service District plans to change its water rate structure by July.

District officials said the current system, which charges customers a flat fee of $387 per year for 120,000 gallons, only encourages use of the full allotment rather than conservation.

Under the proposed structure set for a vote June 29, customers would face a $360 fixed annual fee along with a three-block system that charges more as consumption increases.

Homeowners might see more than a 10 percent increase in bills under the plan, officials said.

The average local home consumes 130,000 gallons of water per year, but about 37 of the district's 300 homes use more than 250,000 gallons per year.

Ten homes go through more than 400,000 gallons a year and one consumes nearly 1 million gallons.

District officials attribute the excessive consumption to large-scale landscaping and irrigation.