City Council approves increasing water rates to cover service, debt costs

New rates will go into effect Oct. 1

The Round Rock City Council unanimously approved Sept. 28 an increase in water rates, and implementing conservation rates on a year-round basis instead of just during summer months. There are no increases proposed for wastewater, solid waste pickup or drainage.

The new rates will take effect on Oct. 1, and be reflected in bills received starting in mid-November.

The impact on average water users will be around 3.4 percent; heavy water users will see increases of up to nearly 12 percent during high water use months in the summer. It is heavy water use during a few short months in summer that drives up costs for the water utility.

The rate changes are needed to cover increased operational costs and new debt service for expansion of the regional water system the City will use to draw water from Lake Travis. The City gets water from Lake Georgetown and Lake Stillhouse Hollow, as well as underground wells. Lake Travis water is vital to meet the City’s long-term water demands, and ensure system reliability in the short term.

Water customers pay a base rate as well as rates based on the volume of water used.

The base rate for residential customers would increase to $16.04 from $14.69 a month, a $1.35 increase.

The tiers at the heart of the conservation rate program will be adjusted slightly. As water use increases, customers pay at a higher rate.

Under the new rate structure, a customer using 10,000 gallons of water a month would see their bill increase to $40.94 per month from $39.59 a month, a $1.35 increase, or 3.4 percent. A customer using 45,000 gallons of water a month would see their bill increase to $195.29 per month from $175.31 per month, a $19.98 increase, or 11.9 percent.

Here are the current and planned tier rates:

TiersCurrent rate* Planned rateChange
Tier 1$2.49$2.490
Tier 2$3.11$3.110
Tier 3$3.74$3.740
Tier 4$4.98$5.6062 cents

*per 1,000 gallons

The  volume in each tier would change under the planned program. Below are current and proposed tier volumes. Under the new structure, these volume tiers will apply year-round, not just in the summer months.

TiersCurrent volumePlanned volume
Tier 10-18,0000-15,000
Tier 218,001-24,00015,001-21,000
Tier 324,001-30,00021,001-27,000
Tier 430,001 and up27,001 and up

Lake Travis water is accessed through the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority, a partnership of the cities of Round Rock, Cedar Park and Leander. The BCRUA has constructed intake, treatment and distribution facilities totaling $155 million to date. Round Rock’s share of that has been $57 million, or 37 percent.

Commercial rates charged to business customers will also change under the plan. Businesses that have irrigation systems will also be charged under a tiered rate structure year-round for that water use. Those without irrigation systems will be charged at a constant rate, based on meter size, because their use generally does not peak in summer months.

The new rates are the first of a three-year planned increase to cover increasing costs. The City updates its water and wastewater rates every three years to ensure it recovers the actual cost of providing service. We analyze infrastructure needs over a 10-year period, and then implement rate increases gradually so our customers do not experience a large rate increase in any given year.

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