Seattle Public Utilities proposes three-year drinking water rates increase
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is proposing an increase to drinking water rates for each of the next three years, to pay for investments in the water supply system and to address declining revenues resulting from the bad economy.
The proposed new water rates are in line with other U.S. cities, which are averaging annual increases of 9.4 percent. (see “The Price of Water 2011: Prices Rise an Average of 9 percent in Major U.S. Cities,” Circle of Blue, May 5, 2011.)
Even with the proposed rate increase, Seattle drinking water — considered to be some of the highest-quality, best-tasting in the world — still would cost less than a penny per gallon. The water rates proposal will be considered by Seattle City Council over the course of the summer and fall, with a decision expected by Thanksgiving. New rates would take effect beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
Drinking water rates pay for:
• Protecting the safety and security of the water supply system
• Operating two state-of-the-art water treatment facilities
• Daily testing to maintain drinking water quality
• Covering open water storage reservoirs in Seattle
• Maintaining and repairing 1,800 miles of pipeline, 20,000 valves, 180,000 water-service connections, 13 water reservoirs and dozens of pump stations
• Providing services to help customers manage their bills and resolve problems
Unlike many city programs, delivery of drinking water is not paid by the city’s general-fund budget, but through a separate water fund, financed by ratepayers in Seattle and parts of King County and managed by Seattle Public Utilities.
Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities, at: http://www.seattle.gov/util.
Follow SPU on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SeattleSPU.