Water Hikes May Swamp Ojai Farmers

Casitas rate plan of 150 percent increase over three years could have a serious effect on Jim Coultas, pictured, and other citrus and avocado growers

By Daryl Kelley

Already struggling after a winter of ruinous winds and killing freezes, Ojai Valley farmers could face a future of soaring water prices if a budget proposed by the Casitas Municipal Water District is adopted by directors this month.
Local farmers would absorb a 50 percent increase under a rate plan on which Casitas has based its draft 2007-2008 budget, and after three years would pay 150 percent more — the same rate as other customers.

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