Last week it was CPS Energy.  This week, the one-two punch to the wallets of San Antonio taxpayers continues as the San Antonio Water System will ask City Council to approve a rate increase.


  The SAWS board on Monday approved a request for a 5.3% rate hike for all  ratepayers, effective early in 2014.  That would raise the average citizen's water bill by $2.58 per month.


  But that's not the end of it.


  SAWS says it will request another rate hike next fall, to take effect in 2015.  That rate increase will be even bigger, and will raise the average residential bill by another $2.80.


  So customers can expect more than $5 per month in rate hikes from SAWS alone in the coming 14 months.


  "We have made $10 million in cuts to the previously proposed budget in order to keep rates as low as possible," said SAWS President Robert Puente, whose own salary totals more than $300,000 a year.  "We have also increased funding to our payment assistance program for those in our community most in need."


  The funding request will be spend on water acquisition projects, including a plan to bring water to San Antonio from the new SAWS desalination plant.


  The funding will also address the needs of the city's decaying sewer system.  The U.S. EPA and SAWS recently reached a Consent Decree which mandates that SAWS upgrade the sewer system to stop the almost constant sewer spills.


  The 2014 rate increase is expected to be rubber stamped by City Council on Thursday.