The city of Ukiah has hired a firm to conduct a water rate study and explore a drought surcharge. The council approved hiring the Reed Group of Sacramento at its last meeting. Public Works Director and City Engineer Tim Eriksen says a drought surcharge keeps your bill at what you would typically use, so even if you use less, you will be charged for the amount you typically use. Ukiah residents have been cutting back on their water usage because of the drought. He says the city typically uses 2 million gallons a day during the winter, but that recent usage had dropped significantly to less than 1.5 million. The purpose of the drought surcharge is to keep the city’s revenues stable regardless of how much water residents are using, and prevent steep increases in the future.