San Diego’s City Council today voted to approve two water-rate increases, including a temporary hike that will fund a pilot study of sewage recycling.

The temporary increase, approved by 5-3 vote, will boost an average household’s monthly bills by $1.12 and stay in effect for 18 months. The increase would raise $10.7 million needed to fund the pilot study, which is expected to take two years and begin in early 2009. Councilmen Kevin Faulconer, Tony Young and Brian Maienschein voted no.

Sewage recycling, a technology used in Orange County, purifies sewage to boost drinking-water reserves. Orange County recharges an underwater aquifer; San Diego would refill San Vicente Reservoir.

The council unanimously approved a separate rate increase that will cover increased costs being passed through by the San Diego County Water Authority, the region’s wholesaler. It will increase an average user’s bill another $3.31 a month.


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