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System Development Charges (SDCs)

An SDC is a one-time charge assessed to new development to recover the cost for the capacity required to provide service. SDCs are also assessed to existing customers that require an increase in capacity. SDCs, sometimes referred to as tap fees, provide a source of funds that allow utilities to finance future projects to serve growth as well as a reimbursement mechanism for the up-front funds that have been contributed by existing rate-payers to fund expansion projects. SDCs serve to mitigate inequities between new and existing customers by requiring ‘growth to pay its own way.’ Denver Water's SDCs are among the lowest on the Front Range, based on a regional survey of single-family SDCs.

The primary drivers of SDCs include:

  • Increase cost of water rights.
  • Change in the estimates of capacity available in the existing system.
  • Increase in the replacement cost of existing assets, such as: conduits, transmission mains, water storage, treatment plants, and pumping facilities.
  • Addition of growth-related projects.
I. Single-family residential6
  Treated Water
  Inside Denver Outside Denver
Base Charge $3,030 $4,240
First 22,000 sq ft, $per sq ft (lot size) $0.70 $0.98
Over 22,000 sq ft, $ per sq ft (lot size) $0.35 $0.49
Accessory Dwelling Units 1 $1,940 $2,710
II. Multifamily6
  Treated Water
  Inside Denver Outside Denver
First two dwelling units $10,040 $14,060
Next 6 dwelling units, $ per unit $2,420 $3,390
Over 8 dwelling units, $ per unit $1,940 $2,710
III. Irrigation only5,6
  Treated Water
  Inside Denver Outside Denver
Minimum charge: first 5,000 sq ft $5,820 $8,150
Over 5,000 sq ft, $ per sq ft $0.87 $1.22
IV. Nonresidential2,3,6
  Treated Water Nonpotable Water
Tap Size Inside Denver Outside Denver Inside Denver Outside Denver
¾ $10,730 $15,030 $9,370 $13,120
1 $19,170 $26,840 $16,730 $23,420
1 ½ $42,180 $59,050 $36,810 $51,540
2 $76,690 $107,360 $66,930 $93,710
3 $126,426 $132,818 $110,402 $154,586
4 $229,917 $322,055 $200,776 $281,139
6 $517,374 $724,709 $451,798 $632,614
8 $774,957 $1,043,495 $650,536 $910,889
10 $1,200,204 $1,681,181 $1,048,081 $1,467,538
12 $1,235,855 $1,731,118 $1,079,213 $1,511,129
V. Mixed use4 (sum of the following SDCs)
  Inside Denver Outside Denver
Multifamily component As set forth in Section II of this schedule
Nonresidential component
   $ per square foot of nonresidential gross floor area
$2.91 $4.08
VI. Special contracts, fixed volume contracts, and large volume customers
  Treated Water Nonpotable Water
  Inside Denver Outside Denver Inside Denver Outside Denver
Inside Combined Service Area
$ per acre-foot $18,980 $26,570 $16,570 $23,190
$ per 1,000 gallons $58.26 $81.57 $50.85 $71.19
Outside Combined Service Area
$ per acre-foot   $37,210   $32,470
$ per 1,000 gallons   $114.10   $99.60


  1. Units such as a guest house or carriage house that are detached from the primary residence and contain provisions for sleeping cooking, and sanitation.
  2. Includes commercial, industrial, institutional development.
  3. Tap sizes greater than 2 inches are determined on an individual basis.
  4. Development containing two or more different principal or primary uses such as residential, office, manufacturing, retail, public or entertainment uses.
  5. Irrigation SDC will be based on the size of the entire licensed property OR the volume of water to be taken on an annual basis but will not be less than the SDC for the size of the tap to be installed.
  6. Premises located in areas where participation charges apply may be required to participate in the cost of infrastructure needed to serve a specific area. The Sales Administration team can help identify if this charge applies. Contact Sales Administration at