In November 2017, the Denver Board of Water Commissioners adopted rate changes to fund essential repairs and upgrades to Denver Water’s system, which begun March 1, 2018.
There are 143 major projects identified in Denver Water’s capital plan. With rapidly changing technology, aging infrastructure, new regulations and a warming climate, we need to continue to invest in the water system. These projects and the expenses associated with day-to-day operations and unplanned work, like water main breaks, are funded by water rates, bond sales, cash reserves, hydropower sales and fees for new service.
To keep water affordable and to encourage efficiency, Denver Water’s rate structure includes three tiers based on how much water you use. Indoor water use — for bathing, cooking and flushing toilets — is essential for human life, and is charged at the lowest rate. Efficient outdoor water use is charged in the second tier (middle rate), followed by inefficient outdoor water use in the third tier (highest rate).
In addition to variable charges based on water use, the rate structure also includes a monthly fixed charge based on the size of your water meter.
How will this impact my bill?
In 2018, every customer will see an increase to their monthly fixed charge. If you’re like most residential customers who have a 3/4-inch meter, that charge will increase from $11.86 to $15.39 per month.
To help offset the increased fixed monthly charge, the monthly rate per 1,000 gallons for many customers will decrease in 2018.
Adding up those two elements, if you live in Platte Canyon District and use 84,000 gallons of water in 2018 in the same way you did in 2017, you can expect to see an annual increase of about $14, which averages out to an increase of about $1.17 per month.
Why is Denver Water raising rates?
Denver Water employees work around the clock to run a large, intricate system that spans 12 counties across Colorado. With a five-year, $1.25 billion capital plan, we’re staying on top of the upgrades and new projects needed to keep our system running.
To keep up with this necessary work, Denver Water is increasing the monthly fixed charge on your bill to help us balance revenue over the year so we can repair and upgrade our system. This means Denver Water is relying less on revenue from customers’ water use, which has become harder to predict in recent years given more frequent and extreme weather fluctuations.
Being water efficient can definitely help your bill. It is important to always use water efficiently in all circumstances.
Why would it be higher?
The rates would be higher because we would have to build more treatment and distribution facilities to keep up with the demand. For example, customer conservation efforts saved Denver Water an estimated $155 million on a new treatment plant and storage facility because it doesn’t have to be as big as originally estimated. That’s $155 million they don’t have to recover through rates and charges.
No one likes paying higher bills, but consider the overall value of water — most Platte Canyon customers will still pay about $3 for 1,000 gallons of water.
If you’d like to talk over your bill with someone, please contact Denver Water’s Customer Care team at 303-893-2444, where a representative will help you calculate your individual bill impacts, based on your personal water-use information.