Water rates go up for summer

Published 9:57 am Thursday, June 11, 2009

Austin residents may have noticed a postcard in the mail recently, notifying them that water utility rates have gone up.

The rate increase comes to about five cents for every 750 gallons used, and has been put into place due to increased infrastructure costs and state statutes requiring an emphasis on conservation.

The new rate for the summer is $1 per ccf, or 750 gallons. Kelly Lady, an energy services consultant at Austin Utilities, said an average family uses about four to five ccfs a month, while a couple may use two or three. However, people often use more in the summer for watering lawns and washing cars, she said.

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Previously, water was 95 cents per ccf for the first 100 ccfs, but only 65 cents after that, something that Austin Utilities support service director Kim Duncomb said had to be addressed.

That system, she said, essentially rewarded high water usage.

The new system has no such price drop-off, and Duncomb said she thinks it’ll go toward the goal of conservation.

Lady said residents who are looking to conserve water can invest in a rain barrel. These collect and store rainwater from gutters, allowing residents to then use the water outside. Austin Utilities is currently offering a $10 rebate on the barrels.

Rate increases will be reflected on June billing statements. Fixed charges will still be assessed based on meter size.