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Essential upgrades and new projects to keep Denver Water's system running smoothly will be paid for with rate changes adopted Nov. 15 by the Denver Board of Water Commissioners.
The new rates take effect March 1, and most Denver residents will see increases of about $2.25 or less if they use water the same as they did in 2017, according to the board.
The multi-year projects driving the rate increase include construction of a water treatment plant, installation of an 8.5-mile water pipeline to replace two pipelines built in the 1930s and 1950s, expansion of Gross Reservoir to provide a more reliable future water supply, construction of a water quality lab, and replacement or repairs on water pipes. Denver Water's five-year, $125 billion capital plan identifies 143 major projects.
Residents who use 84,000 gallons of water a year can expect to see an annual increase of about $14, which averages to $1.17 per month. Denver customers generally use less than 84,000 gallons per year, while suburban customers tend to use more; 84,000 gallons represents the median water use for all residential customers.
Customers' water bills include a fixed charge, which helps ensure more stable revenue for Denver Water, along with a volume rate. The fixed charge is tied to meter size and will increase in 2018 by about $3.50 for most residential customers. To help offset the fixed monthly charge, the charge per 1,000 gallons for many customers will see a small decrease.
Denver Water's rate structure includes a three-tiered charge for water use (called the volume rate). To keep water affordable, indoor water use — such as bathing, cooking and flushing toilets — is charged at the lowest rate. Essential indoor water use is determined by averaging the customer's monthly water use on bills dated from January through March each year. This is called average winter consumption. Water use above the average winter consumption — typically for outdoor watering — is charged at a higher price.
Individual water bills will depend on how much water a customer uses and whether the customer lives in Denver or is served by one of 66 suburban distributors under contract with Denver Water. The Denver City Charter requires that suburban customers pay the full cost of service, plus an additional amount.
Customers will see more information about 2018 rates in their bills, and details can be found at www.denverwater.org.
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