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2018 Residential Water Rates

Rates Effective March 1

In November 2017, the Denver Board of Water Commissioners adopted rate changes to fund essential repairs and upgrades to Denver Water’s system, beginning 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 (called System Development Charges).

The need to raise residential rates in 2018

Denver Water is upgrading and modernizing the northern portion of our water system that was built in the 1930s. We are building a new water treatment plant, installing a new pipeline and redeveloping our Moffat Treatment Plant site (pictured).

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.

Bill impacts

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 Denver 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. (Summer bills are typically higher because of outdoor water use.)

If you live in the suburbs and get your water from one of our 65 distributors, your bill will be higher than Denver residents’. That’s because the Denver City Charter requires suburban customers to pay the full cost of service, plus an additional amount.

Average water bill (based on 84,000 gallons used annually) 2017 2018 Monthly increase Annual increase

Inside City

$420 $434 $1.17 $14

Read and Bill

$434 $459 $2.09 $25

Total Service

$501 $547 $3.79 $46

Why are we 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, we are 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 we are 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 brings benefits

We will always encourage efficient water use. Without question, if our customers didn’t use water as efficiently as they do, rates would be higher.

Why?

Because we’d 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 we don’t have to recover through rates and charges.

No one likes paying higher bills, but consider the overall value of water — most Denver Water customers will still pay about $3 for 1,000 gallons of water.

Your 2018 water rates at work

After this water main break in Denver on Jan. 28, 2017, Denver Water engineers started design and coordination to replace the 24-inch-diameter pipe. The five-year capital plan invests more than $100 million to repair and replace water mains.

In 2018, Denver Water will continue work on projects that are part of the five-year, $1.25 billion capital improvement plan. Denver Water is staying on top of the upgrades and new projects needed to keep this system running. Some specific projects include:

North System Renewal

Denver Water’s North System was constructed in the 1930s, when the surrounding area was mostly farmland. Now, 80 years later, the North System is reaching the end of its lifespan. With a projected cost of more than $650 million, the project includes upgrading pipes and valves inside Ralston Dam, building an 8.5-mile water pipeline, repurposing Moffat Treatment Plant and building the new Northwater Treatment Plant.

Hillcrest Storage Tank Replacement project

The $100 million project replaces two aging and outdated tanks that were built on the same site in the 1960s. Crews are constructing three brand new, 15-million-gallon treated water storage reservoirs and a pump station to send that water throughout our system.

Pipe replacement

The five-year capital plan invests more than $100 million to repair and replace old water mains. Some of the pipes in the system date back to the 1890s, and Denver Water has more than 3,000 miles of pipe in the ground.

Questions about how 2018 rates affect your bill?

If you’d like to talk about your bill, contact Denver Water’s Customer Care team at 303-893-2444. A representative will help you calculate impacts to your bill based on your own water-use information.

Did you know?

Hillcrest water storage facility

Denver Water has worked since 2016 to replace two existing 15-million-gallon rectangular storage tanks with three 15-million-gallon circular “post-tensioned” concrete tanks at the Hillcrest water storage facility in southeast Denver. The $100 million project, which also includes a new pump station, is scheduled to be done in 2020.

Residential Treated Water Rates

For meters read on after March 1, 2018.

2018 Residential Rates: Inside City of Denver

Monthly Fixed Charges, $ per Bill

Meter Size (inches) Monthly Charge
5⁄8″ & 3⁄4″ $15.39
1″ $21.44
1 1⁄2″ $40.16
2″ $66.14
3″ $139.84
4″ $243.14
6″ $539.15
8″ $952.97
10″ $1,485.18
12″ $2,136.45

Treated Water Volume Rates, $ per 1,000 gallons

Single-Family Residential Customers

Tier Monthly consumption (gallons) Rate per 1,000 gallons
Tier 1 0 to average winter consumption (AWC) — see Note 3 $2.29
Tier 2 AWC + 15,000 $4.12
Tier 3 Greater than AWC + 15,000 $5.50

2018 Residential Rates: Outside City — Read & Bill

Monthly Fixed Charges, $ per Bill

Meter Size (inches) Monthly Charge
5⁄8″ & 3⁄4″ $15.39
1″ $21.44
1 1⁄2″ $40.16
2″ $66.14
3″ $139.84
4″ $243.14
6″ $539.15
8″ $952.97
10″ $1,485.18
12″ $2,136.45

Treated Water Volume Rates, $ per 1,000 gallons

Single-Family Residential Customers

Tier Monthly consumption (gallons) Rate per 1,000 gallons
Tier 1 0 to average winter consumption (AWC) — see Note 3 $2.52
Tier 2 AWC + 15,000 $4.54
Tier 3 Greater than AWC + 15,000 $6.05

2018 Residential Rates: Outside City — Total Service

Monthly Fixed Charges, $ per Bill

Meter Size (inches) Monthly Charge
5⁄8″ & 3⁄4″ $15.39
1″ $21.44
1 1⁄2″ $40.16
2″ $66.14
3″ $139.84
4″ $243.14
6″ $539.15
8″ $952.97
10″ $1,485.18
12″ $2,136.45

Treated Water Volume Rates, $ per 1,000 gallons

Single-Family Residential Customers

Tier Monthly consumption (gallons) Rate per 1,000 gallons
Tier 1 0 to average winter consumption (AWC) — see Note 3 $3.33
Tier 2 AWC + 15,000 $5.99
Tier 3 Greater than AWC + 15,000 $7.99


Notes

  1. Applicability: See Chapter 2 of Denver Water’s Operating Rules.
  2. Payment: Bills are due and payable to Denver Water upon issuance. Monthly bills are delinquent 20 days after the billing date. Late charges will be assessed per Denver Water policy.
  3. Single-Family AWC: A customer’s average winter consumption (AWC) is used to determine the tier 1 threshold. The AWC is determined by averaging the customer’s monthly water consumption on bills dated January, February and March, which is a way of determining essential indoor water use. Denver Water has set the tier 1 minimum threshold at 5,000 gallons and a maximum of 15,000 gallons. For example, if the customer’s AWC is less than 5,000 gallons, tier 1 is 0 to 5,000 gallons. If the AWC is over 15,000 gallons, tier 1 is 0 to 15,000 gallons. Volume rates are applied to actual monthly usage.