Initiative Measure 63BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:
Section One: Findings and Intent.
A. Seattle Citizens recognize that additional water conservation is necessary to balance the needs of our growing community and a healthy environment, and to avoid the future expense of developing new water sources.
B. Seattle Public Utilities ("SPU") has found that the voluntary conservation measures to be implemented by this Initiative are cost-effective, meaning that in the long run they will save money. SPU has also found that these measures will "not result in a loss of service or satisfaction" to customers.
C. Seattle Citizens want a cost-effective conservation program that allows all individuals, regardless of their income, to contribute, by assisting in the retrofitting of low-income housing for water conservation. The public benefit of such a program would outweigh any incidental benefit to the participants in the program, as demonstrated by the City's successful programs providing weatherization and other energy conservation measures in low-income housing.
D. Citizens of Seattle want a conservation program that respects personal and business choices about water consumption. However, those who choose to use extraordinary amounts of water should pay more because increased demand raises costs to all customers by burdening the community to fund additional conservation and to prematurely establish new, more expensive water supplies.
E. Citizens of Seattle congratulate Seattle Public Utilities for its leadership in water conservation, including its Cedar River Habitat Conservation Plan, its work to extol environmental stewardship and conservation regionally through the Central Puget Sound Water Purveyor's Forum, and its commitment to working in partnership with the environmental community.
Section Two: To protect our natural environment, Seattle shall speed up its implementation of voluntary, cost-effective water conservation.
A. Seattle shall accelerate its water conservation program to fully implement all cost-effective water conservation measures identified in Seattle Public Utilities' 1998 Conservation Potential Assessment within the City of Seattle by the year 2010. These measures have been fully studied by Seattle Public Utilities and found to be cost-effective. Examples of these measures include promoting waste reduction, efficient toilets and washing machines, improved toilet "flappers," and improved irrigation systems.
B. The measures to be implemented under Section 2.A shall be voluntary on the part of customers, and do not include mandatory measures such as irrigation bans that would reduce customer service.
C. Seattle Public Utilities shall update Seattle's Conservation Potential Assessment ("CPA") every three years, with the first update completed in 2003, and shall implement new cost-effective conservation measures within the City of Seattle within seven years after the measure is identified.
Section Three: The additional water conserved by Seattle under this Initiative shall be used to protect salmon and the environment, not for suburban sprawl.
A. It is the intent of this Initiative to increase the amount of water conserved within the City of Seattle for the purpose of protecting the environment and assisting salmon recovery by increasing flows in fish-bearing creeks and rivers. The water supply created by Seattle's conservation efforts shall not merely be sold outside of the City of Seattle. Our conservation efforts should be rewarded with a healthier environment.
B. To achieve this purpose, Seattle Public Utilities shall annually track the water supply created by Seattle's conservation efforts after passage of this Initiative, which shall be known as the "environmental block" of water.
C. The environmental block of water shall be used to protect the environment and assist salmon recovery by increasing flows in fish-bearing creeks and rivers, through one or more of the following mechanisms:
(1) Placing the water in the State's water trust program, for the benefit of the environment and salmon through in-stream flows.
(2) Leaving the water in the rivers that supply Seattle's water to benefit the environment and salmon, provided however that this alternative may only be used if the alternative contained in Section 3.C.1 is unavailable.
(3) Loaning the water directly or through an environmental water bank to other water districts or municipalities to replace an existing withdrawal or diversion of water that threatens salmon or other priority fish species (e.g., to replace a withdrawal from an aquifer that threatens to dewater a salmon-bearing creek). Water from the environmental block may be loaned only when the environmental benefit of the loan is demonstrated by best available science, and only pursuant to a contract requiring, at a minimum, that:
(a) the loaned water will not be used outside of the urban growth boundary;
(b) the loaned water will replace and not supplement the withdrawal that jeopardizes fish; and
(c) the entity borrowing the water agrees to implement conservation that is equal to or greater than that required by this Initiative. The Director of SPU shall adopt additional requirements for this program.
D. The environmental block may be used to meet future growth in demand within the City of Seattle, if necessary, and up to one half of the environmental block may be used to respond to a future drought emergency declared by the governor.
Section Four: The "Everyone Can Conserve" Program will help retrofit qualifying low-income housing for water conservation.
A. Within six months after passage of this Initiative, the City shall design and implement the "Everyone Can Conserve" Program to retrofit Qualifying Low Income Units and Qualifying Low Income Buildings within the City for water conservation. The Program shall be administered jointly by Seattle Public Utilities and the Office of Housing. The Directors of Seattle Public Utilities and the Office of Housing shall adopt rules for administration of the Program, including verification of eligibility, conservation priorities, inspection of work, and all other matters, and shall have all authority necessary to implement the Program.
B. At a minimum, the Program shall:
(1) Assist with supply and installation of cost-effective water conservation measures within Qualifying Low Income Units, with the assistance ratio and per unit assistance cap as follows:
Qualifying Low Income Units that house extremely low-income individuals or families or that are owner-occupied: 100% assistance, to a maximum per unit assistance of $600, adjusted for inflation;
Other Qualifying Low Income Units: 50% assistance, to a maximum per unit assistance of $300, adjusted for inflation; and
(2) Assist with supply and installation of cost-effective water conservation measures in common areas of Qualifying Low-Income Buildings, with the assistance ratio and per unit assistance cap as follows:
Qualifying Low Income Buildings in which at least 80% of units are Qualifying Low Income Units housing extremely low-income individuals or families: 100% assistance to a maximum per building assistance equivalent to $200 per Qualifying Low Income Unit, adjusted for inflation.
Other Qualifying Low Income Buildings: 50% assistance to a maximum per building assistance equivalent to $100 per Qualifying Low Income Unit, adjusted for inflation.
(3) The administering agencies may increase the ratio of assistance, the maximum per unit assistance, or the maximum per building assistance above those mandated herein. The administering agencies may provide assistance through grants or reimbursements, through providing materials and installation, or a combination thereof.
(4) The administering agencies shall use their best efforts to retrofit substantially all Qualifying Low Income Units and Qualifying Low Income Buildings by the year 2010.
Section Five: This Measure is to be funded by a new water rate targeting only residences and businesses use extraordinary amounts of water.
A. Within six months after passage of this Initiative, the City shall implement a new block in its peak-season water rate structure within Seattle. Seattle Public Utility shall design the new rate as follows:
(1) Target only residential and commercial water users that use extraordinary amounts of water;
(2) Apply to only the additional quantities of water used by this group of customers;
(3) Affect less than 10% of the residential and 10% of commercial water users in Seattle during peak months.
(4) Consider the number of units in a multi-family residential buildings so that they are not presumed to be using extraordinary amounts of water;
(5) Allow commercial users to demonstrate implementation of all cost-effective water conservation measures identified in the most recent Conservation Potential Assessment to avoid the new block rate.
B. The new rate will not affect sewer, garbage, or other Seattle utility rates. Seattle Public Utilities shall set the new rate at a level that will provide a meaningful incentive for large water users to practice water conservation and at a rate that will create sufficient incremental revenue to fund the following programs within the City of Seattle:
(1) Increased assistance for low-income ratepayers including full funding for the Everyone Can Conserve Program.
(2) The incremental costs to accelerate cost-effective water conservation measures, as required by Section 2.A of this Initiative.
(3) If additional revenue is generated, it will be used for increased water conservation programs in the City of Seattle.
C. It is anticipated that any costs associated with this Initiative may be funded through bond financing, at the discretion of the City, in which case the revenue generated by the new rate may be used for debt repayment.
D. Every two years, the City shall adjust the new rate to assure that it continues to satisfy the requirements of Section 5.A and B.
E. If the new rate structure is ever invalidated or halted, the City Council shall provide an alternative method of funding the Everyone Can Conserve Program and other requirements of this Initiative consistent with the intent of Section 5.A and B.
F. The Director of SPU may, upon written request, waive the new rate for customers or classes of customers who demonstrate water conservation or for whom the rate would create an undue hardship.
Section Six. Conservation planning and compliance.
A. Within eighteen months after passage of this Initiative, the City shall adopt a revised Water Conservation Plan outlining the steps and timeline for implementation of this Initiative. Seattle Public Utilities shall thereafter demonstrate compliance with this Initiative in its Annual Report, a summary of which shall be communicated to ratepayers.
B. The mandates of this Initiative create non-discretionary duties for the City and its agencies, and any Seattle resident or organization shall have standing to seek enforcement of such duties by mandamus or other action. If the City of Seattle is found to be in violation of the mandates of this Initiative, the party bringing the action shall be entitled to recover only reasonable costs and attorneys' fees incurred in bringing the action.
Section Seven: Definitions.
A. Conservation Potential Assessment. A document prepared by Seattle Public Utilities that, at a minimum, contains the components of analysis contained in the 1998 Conservation Potential Assessment, including an analysis of cost-effective water conservation measures as defined by this Initiative.
B. "Cost-effective water conservation" or "cost-effective water conservation measures." Those measures that can be implemented at a cost that is less than that of the next available source of water supply. This calculation must also take into consideration the following factors (1) a 15% multiplier to increase the calculated benefit of conservation measures to account for economic and ecological benefits of conservation; and (2) best estimates of other benefits obtained by conservation measures, including savings relating to reduced demand for electricity, sewer, wastewater, etc.
C. Extremely low income. Individuals or families earning less than 30% of median income.
D. Median income. See SMC 21.04.280.
E. Qualifying low income building. A building in which at least 80% of units are Qualified Low Income Units.
F. Qualifying low income unit. A residential unit that has a certificate of occupancy or is otherwise legally occupied at the time of passage of this Initiative; and
(1) is owned or managed by the Seattle Housing Authority; or
(2) is subject to rent and income restrictions recorded against the property limiting its occupants to very low income or extremely low income individuals or families; or
(3) is owned by a very low income or extremely low income owner-occupant; or
(4) where the owner provides proof the unit is occupied by very low income or extremely low income tenants and that the rents are no more than 35% of the occupant's income, AND such owner agrees not to raise rents as a result of the improvements provided by this Program.
G. Very low income. Individuals or families earning less than 50% of median income.
Section Eight: Construction.
This initiative is to be liberally construed to advance its purpose of increasing water conservation for the protection of the environment and to assist salmon recovery by increasing flows in fish-bearing creeks and rivers.
Section Nine: Severability.
The provisions of this ordinance are declared to be separate and severable. If any one or more of the provisions of this ordinance shall be declared by any court of competent jurisdiction to be contrary to law, then such provision or provisions shall be null and void and severed from the rest of this ordinance, and all other provisions of this ordinance shall remain valid and enforceable. A Court may use its cy pres or other powers to find a substitute trust or other equitable means to satisfy the intent of this Initiative.