The City of Santa Rosa is considering adoption of a Water Demand Offset (WDO) Policy and fee structure to offset the water usage from new developments that come online during severe water shortages. This would allow development to continue during severe water shortages by offsetting new demand for water with projects and programs that reduce water use or generate new water resources.
The City is considering adoption of this WDO policy to balance the need for housing and the need to manage water carefully during severe water shortages. City Council has identified housing has a core goal and priority in the coming years, with the purpose of adding affordable housing options for all those in the City. In addition, California Governor Gavin Newsom has identified the development of housing as a high priority, calling the state's shortage a housing crisis. This water offset fee would allow the City to continue to meet the challenge of providing homes for the region, even during severe water shortage emergencies.
This policy would apply to projects seeking a building permit (if the project is also subject to new or increased connection fees). New projects would submit a WDO application as part of the building permit process and would need to sign a WDO Agreement that indicates the amount of fees due. Payment of WDO fees would not be due until a project is seeking final inspection or any type of occupancy – and would only be due if there is a declared water shortage emergency in place at that time that requires existing customers to comply with site-specific water allocations (water rationing).
The City of Santa Rosa Board of Public Utilities and City Council will consider the WDO Policy and fees on the following dates. The public is welcome to attend in person or virtually and invited to provide comment:
Nov. 18, 2021 at or after 1:30 PM – Board of Public Utilities consider recommendation to City Council to adopt
Nov. 30, 2021 [NOTE: meeting could move to Dec. 7] at or after 5:00 PM – City Council Public Hearing and consider adopting the WDO Policy and WDO Fee structure.