Anna Stansfield/Cronkite News
April 27, 2023
The city of Phoenix is considering increases to its water rates in response to the ongoing drought and rising costs of labor, electricity and chemicals used to treat water and wastewater. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)
PHOENIX – Phoenix residents could see an increase in their water bills soon. Although the Valley has seen more rain than normal this winter, with almost an inch more than the average in March, it wasn’t enough to combat the ongoing drought in Arizona.
The Water Services Department is proposing a phased rate increase to address the rising cost of water and water treatment and to encourage conservation. But one department official said the proposed higher rates would still be “extremely affordable” for most customers.
“There was a national affordability study that was done last year, and the city of Phoenix has been recognized as some of the most affordable water and wastewater rates in the nation,” said Troy Hayes, water services director for the city of Phoenix.
What is the current water rate for Phoenix customers?
Phoenix water customers are currently billed at a flat rate that allows up to 4,488 gallons of water during the cooler months of October to May and 7,480 gallons in the hot, dry months from June to September. The rate varies based on the size of a customer’s water meter – the larger the line, the more the cost – and where the customer lives. Those who live outside Phoenix are charged an additional 50%.
On top of these charges, customers pay user, environmental and other charges.
What are the proposed rate increases?
The proposed rate increase would raise water service costs for the average, in-city resident customer by 6.5%, or about $2 a month, in October, according to city estimates, though the increases will vary by customer. That would be followed by another 6.5% increase next March, and a 13% increase in March 2025