By Leigh Martinez

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton homeowners may end up paying more for water because they saved so much during the drought.

North Stockton homeowner Michael Casale thought Tuesday would be a good day to try to bring his yard back to life.

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“I tried to let the rain do it’s job. Hopefully it comes back,” he said.

He thinks he did a good job conserving water last summer.

“I let my lawn die,” he said.

Stockton city officials say homeowners like Casale did such a good job conserving water, that the water treatment plant has lost millions of dollars in revenue. The city manager and water department director say water rates may rise.

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“Now we’re going to have to ask for that money back that we would have got anyways, had you used the water in the first place,” said Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva. “I don’t’ think it will sit well with residents and it’s something I can’t support personally.”

The city is proposing increasing water rates in July by 26 percent. Next year it will increase an additional 5.5 percent and then 3 percent more over the following three years.

Casale says he understands the city’s predicament.

“They need the money to operate. They need the money to keep the water clean,” he said. “I understand it, but I don’t like it. Nobody is going to like it.”

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The alternative is for Stockton to take out a loan, but for a city just getting out of bankruptcy, that’s not a popular plan with city officials or homeowners trying to rebound from what they’ve already lost.