FREMONT -- In a move that Alameda County Water District leaders described as unfortunate yet unavoidable, the agency's board has given Tri-City residents their 12th annual rate increase.

The board, which has increased rates each year since 2003, unanimously approved a 7 percent hike on customers' bimonthly bills, raising the average residential bill in 2014 to $109.53 every two months.

Water District leaders said the increases were due to rising pension costs and the need to improve the agency's aging water mains and 800 miles of pipelines.

Six residents spoke against the rate hikes at the meeting, with several requesting a discount for seniors and others living on fixed incomes.

The district cannot legally give senior discounts, the board said, but it soon will start a water savings program to help low-income homeowners install water-saving devices.

Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.



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