BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — If you get your water from the City of Bakersfield, prepare to pay more. Wednesday the Bakersfield City Council voted to increase the cost of water by 5 percent for customers of the city’s domestic water system … starting July 1. This comes as data shows Kern is one of the driest counties in the state.

“We have some increasing costs to maintain and operate our systems,” said Art Chianello, Water Resources Manager for the City of Bakersfield. “Which includes cleaning the water as we pump it from the ground to deliver it from our customers. It includes higher electrical costs. We only do the increase commensurate to what we think our increased costs are.”

Meantime Both the city of Bakersfield and Cal Water are restricting water use. If you get your water from the City of Bakersfield, outdoor watering is limited to three days a week.
For Cal Water customers, it’s limited to two days a week.

This comes as the U.S. Drought Monitor shows Kern is one of the driest parts of the state, with 68% of the county suffering from what experts call “exceptional drought.” That’s the most severe category, creating a parched landscape and forcing residents to cut back on water use.

City officials says outdoor water use accounts for 70 percent of the water people use in Bakersfield.

“The best opportunity for a house to reduce water is just to reduce the amount of water used outside,” said Chianello.

City officials say they have programs to help you save water.

“Rebates for up to $300 for high-efficiency clothes washers, rebates for high-efficiency toilets, smart irrigation controllers,” said Chianello. “The city is also offering water conservation home kits that they can get for free if they visit the city of Bakersfield’s website.”