SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – With a record dry start to 2022 in California, drought concerns are prompting one East Bay city to increase water rates next month.

Most of California is under severe to extreme drought conditions. In the Bay Area, as of March 29, U.S.  drought monitor data shows Sonoma County under extreme conditions and part of Napa County in severe drought.

In response to the ongoing drought conditions, the city of Pleasanton will enact “stage 2 drought rates” starting May 1st. That will add an extra charge of 65 cents per unit of water for single-family residential customers.

“For an average family of four in San Francisco, that would amount to about $14 extra a month,” professor Katherine Cushing told KRON4.

Cushing is a professor of environmental studies at San Jose State University. She says mandating drought rates is a way to keep the city’s utility financially sustainable.

“We still need utilities to be financially viable and I think for the city of Pleasanton, they’re worried about balancing the utilities need for financial solvency also with this more regional need to conserve water,” Cushing said.

“We’re getting to the wet season in general and you don’t see much rain across the Bay Area throughout the summer months so that’s definitely going to be a concern,” Roger Grass told KRON4.

Grass is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service and says that’s why it’s important to conserve water, even if it’s a good wet year.

Grass told us, “many places are less than ten percent of average since January first so obviously the good start to the year was helpful and beneficial in some of the drought categories but the past three months being typically our wettest the drought conditions are going to continue to worsen.”