Testifiers at the last Water Resources Committee meeting were generally in support of waiving the minimum gross income requirement for agriculture water rates for up to six years.
Watch the Sept. 17 meeting:
The committee, chaired by Councilmember Michael Victorino, will continue the discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 9 a.m.
Review the agenda.
Water consumers actively engaged in agricultural production may qualify for “agriculture water rates.” Some farmers say they don’t meet the $1000-income criteria because it takes years for their crops to grow.
Martha and Rob Lind of Olinda Organic Farm submitted written testimony for WR-21 and said it takes four to five years for their coffee trees to grow and establish themselves. They added it takes several more years for the trees to produce enough coffee cherries to meet the $1000 minimum gross income criteria.
A testifier against the measure said agriculture water rates must only be given to consumers actively engaged in the business of commercial agriculture, and claimed the $1000-income requirement is already a low income threshold. Agricultural activities that do not produce the amount must not be considered commercial agriculture, the testifier said.
The committee on Wednesday will consider a bill that would provide agriculture water consumers a mechanism to obtain a waiver of the minimum $1000 income if they use 51 percent of their cultivatable area for production.
The bill would also expand their ability to request additional waivers in subsequent years.
Email your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing WR-21.
The committee will also consider a report to optimize water infrastructure improvements via WR-12, and will review a water supply drought plan from the Department of Water Supply with WR-20.
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