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2020 Residential Water Rates

New water rates start Jan. 1

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Repairing and replacing old water main
Our five-year capital plan includes an aggressive approach to repairing and replacing old water mains. Photo credit: Denver Water.

In October, the Denver Board of Water Commissioners adopted rate changes to fund essential repairs and upgrades to Denver Water’s system, beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

There are more than 100 major projects identified in our five-year capital plan, including replacing pipes and underground storage tanks and upgrading water treatment facilities.

With rapidly changing technology, aging infrastructure, new regulations and a warming climate, the cost of running a complex water system continues to rise. All our costs, including day-to-day operations and unplanned work, such as main breaks, are paid for solely by rates and fees, not taxes.

2020 water rates

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Gross Reservoir Expansion rendering
The Gross Reservoir Expansion Project will raise the height of the existing dam by 131 feet, which will allow the reservoir to store more water and nearly triple in size. The additional water will help prevent future shortfalls during droughts and help offset an imbalance in our collection system. Image credit: Denver Water.

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 additional 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.

Why are we raising rates?

Our employees work around-the-clock to run a large, intricate system that spans 12 counties across Colorado. With a five-year, $1.3 billion capital plan, we’re staying on top of the upgrades and new projects needed to keep this system running.

From replacing more than 100,000 feet of water pipe each year to rehabilitating aging dams and storage tanks, Denver Water has always taken a proactive and strategic approach to upgrading infrastructure.

Bill impacts

We are slightly increasing the monthly fixed charge on your bill to ensure we are recovering 20% of our revenue from fixed charges, which helps us even out our revenues over the year. This means less reliance on revenues from how much water customers use, which has become increasingly difficult to predict in recent years given the more frequent and extreme weather fluctuations.

If you’re like most residential customers who have a 3/4-inch meter, the fixed monthly charge will increase 19 cents, to $16.13 per month. If you live in Denver, have a 3/4-inch meter, and use 103,000 gallons of water in 2020, you will see your monthly bill increase by about $1.03.

If you live in the suburbs and use 103,000 gallons in 2020, your monthly bill will rise by $1.15 to $1.36, depending which of our 65 distributors provides your home with water.

Your bill is higher than Denver residents’ because the Denver City Charter requires suburban customers pay the full cost of service plus an additional amount. The additional amount is added to the volumetric charges.

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 facilities because they don’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 of our customers will still pay about $4.37 for 1,000 gallons of water.

Your 2020 water rates at work

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Crew install pipe in North System Renewal project.
This pipe is being installed as part of our North System Renewal Project. The pipe will bring water from Ralston Reservoir to the new Northwater Treatment Plant under construction north of Golden and west of State Highway 93. Photo credit: Denver Water.

In 2020, Denver Water will continue work on projects that are part of the five-year, $1.3 billion capital plan. We are staying on top of the upgrades and new projects needed to keep the water system running. Some specific projects include:

  • North System Renewal. Our 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 life span. The renewal 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.
  • Gross Reservoir Expansion. This major component of our long-term, multipronged approach (including promoting water efficiency, recycling water and responsibly sourcing new supply) will deliver safe, reliable water to the more than 1.5 million residents in our service area today and many of the projected 8.1 million people who will call Colorado home by 2050. Additional water storage from the project will help prevent future shortfalls during droughts and help offset an imbalance in our north-south collection system.
  • Pipe replacement. We replace about 106,000 feet of pipe a year and have a goal of replacing about 140,000 feet of pipe every year by 2024. Denver Water has more than 3,000 miles of pipe in the ground.

Questions about how 2020 rates affect your bill?

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Denver Water Customer Care representative
Our Customer Care representatives are ready to answer your questions. Photo credit: Denver Water.

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

Did you know?

Part of your water bill supports the use of renewable energy in the form of hydropower. In fact, the seven hydroelectric plants in Denver Water’s system generate more than enough to power all of Denver Water's facilities, from pump stations to treatment plants. Learn more about our environmental stewardship at denverwaterTAP.org.

Residential Treated Water Rates

For meters read on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

2020 Residential Rates: Inside City of Denver

Monthly Fixed Charges, $ per Bill

Meter Size (inches) Monthly Charge
5⁄8″ & 3⁄4″ $16.13
1″ $22.72
1 1⁄2″ $43.17
2″ $71.54
3″ $152.02
4″ $264.83
6″ $588.07
8″ $1,039.95
10″ $1,621.12
12″ $2,332.29

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 $2.36
Tier 2 AWC + 15,000 $4.25
Tier 3 Greater than AWC + 15,000 $5.66

Private Fireline

Fireline Size (inches) Monthly Charge
1″ $3.80
2″ $6.34
4″ $9.79
6″ $13.99
8″ $24.48
10″ $34.97
12″ $55.96
16″ $139.90
   
Fire Hydrants $13.99

2020 Residential Rates: Outside City — Read & Bill

Monthly Fixed Charges, $ per Bill

Meter Size (inches) Monthly Charge
5⁄8″ & 3⁄4″ $16.13
1″ $22.72
1 1⁄2″ $43.17
2″ $71.54
3″ $152.02
4″ $264.83
6″ $588.07
8″ $1,039.95
10″ $1,621.12
12″ $2,332.29

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 $2.72
Tier 2 AWC + 15,000 $4.90
Tier 3 Greater than AWC + 15,000 $6.53

Private Fireline

Fireline Size (inches) Monthly Charge
1″ $2.57
2″ $4.29
4″ $6.63
6″ $9.47
8″ $16.56
10″ $23.66
12″ $37.86
16″ $94.65
   
Fire Hydrants $9.47

2020 Residential Rates: Outside City — Total Service

Monthly Fixed Charges, $ per Bill

Meter Size (inches) Monthly Charge
5⁄8″ & 3⁄4″ $16.13
1″ $22.72
1 1⁄2″ $43.17
2″ $71.54
3″ $152.02
4″ $264.83
6″ $588.07
8″ $1,039.95
10″ $1,621.12
12″ $2,332.29

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 $3.68
Tier 2 AWC + 15,000 $6.62
Tier 3 Greater than AWC + 15,000 $8.83

Private Fireline

Fireline Size (inches) Monthly Charge
1″ $4.00
2″ $6.68
4″ $10.32
6″ $14.74
8″ $25.80
10″ $36.86
12″ $58.97
16″ $147.42
   
Fire Hydrants $14.74

2020 Treated Water Rates: Outside City — Wholesale

Monthly Fixed Charges, $ per Bill

Meter Size (inches) Monthly Charge
5⁄8″ & 3⁄4″ $16.13
1″ $22.72
1 1⁄2″ $43.17
2″ $71.54
3″ $152.02
4″ $264.83
6″ $588.07
8″ $1,039.95
10″ $1,621.12
12″ $2,332.29

Treated Water Volume Rates, $ per 1,000 gallons

Customer Class Rate per 1,000 gallons
Master Meter $4.37
Outside the Combined Service Area $4.55


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.