Jed Boal ReportingIf you live in Salt Lake City your basic water rate will rise this summer, but you can still cut your bill if you save water. Salt Lake City water managers are asking for more money to pay to expand the system, but conservation remains the goal.
We're storing a lot of water this winter, but the message remains--Slow the Flow. Even if they saved water and cut their bills in recent years, Salt Lake City customers will likely pay three percent more starting in July.
System expansion is a long-term plan. Water users in Salt Lake and Sandy are paying to build a new water treatment plant at Point of the Mountain. The city's water conservation coordinator says the rate hike was approved once before and is not being used to make up for lost revenue from conservation.
Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City Water Conservation Coordinator: It's always cost-effective to conserve water and use limited resources wisely. And that's not going to change. Conservation will never hurt us."
In Salt Lake City's graduated rate structure lightest users will pay only three dollars more each year; average users around seven dollars. And the heaviest residential users will pay $20 more.
Water watchdogs point out SLC still enjoys rates among the lowest in 13 western states.
Erica Thoen, Utah Rivers Council: “There's good news in this though for homeowners. There's a choice as to how much we use each month and therefore how much we pay on our water bill."
The increase will raise nearly seven million dollars for 30 years. Sandy customers are paying six and a half percent more each year for a decade. While we pay for expansion, water managers say it still pays to save.
Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City Water Conservation Coordinator: “The money we save in conservation is the cost of acquiring and developing new sources of water and from having to have restrictions."
The proposal goes to the mayor's office in the next month and then on to city council for approval.