Water Rates

The Raleigh City Council approved an increase of $500 on the fees charged for the water and sewer utility hook-up for new buildings. Our current capacity fees are about $1700, but the rate in Raleigh is still well below what other municipalities in Wake County charge new developments. The average is about $3500, however some cities run upwards of $8000. This increase for Raleigh will still not cover the total cost for building new water and sewer capacity, but we are striving to assure that growth pays for itself.

The residenitial water rates will increase by 8.5% starting May 1 and continuing until December 1 when the tiered water rates take effect. Currently the rate per gallon is $2.63 per 1,000 gallons. After the rate increase goes into effect, water will cost $2.85 per 1,000 gallons. This translates to just under 3/100 of 1 cent per gallon of water.

The average Raleigh household uses between 5-6,000 gallons a month. In the summer our municipal collective water consumption jumps from an average of 40 million gallons per day to 70 million gallons per day. Most of this is due to irrigation systems using potable water for lawns. There are a variety of options for collecting and reusing rain water, such as FreeFlow Water Recycling Systems which helped my company set up an excellent underground cistern system.

The tiered water rate system is specifically structured to reward customers who are actively conserving.

Tier 1 – Less than 3,000 gallons a month – $2.80 per 1,000 gallons
Tier 2 – 3,000 to 7,500 gallons a month – $4.15 per 1,000 gallons
Tier 3 – More than 7,500 gallons a month – $5.50 per 1,000 gallons

Why Less is More by Matthew Eisley, N&O 4/22/09 A great summary of background information on the complexities of raising rates.

The recent drought was a huge wake-up call for us that our water/sewer system must be prepared to handle seasonal and annual fluctuations. We need to move towards a system which values conservation and budgets our water in a responsible and appropriate way. I want to say a huge thank you to the entire Raleigh community for the collective conservation efforts. The positive response reflects a continued movement towards recognizing that water is a collective, finite resource that must be protected and budgeted responsibly.

Where does our water come from?
#1 Neuse River Basin
Cape Fear River Basin

Where does it go?
According to a recent report from the Raleigh Water Conservation Advisory Council:
24% is commercial use
11% is institutional use
3% is industrial use
62% is residential use

Within that Residential Use the breakdown looks something like this:
20% irrigation
18% clothes washers (average wash cycle uses approximately 40-45 gallons)
16% showers
14% toilets check out the Toilet Replacement Rebate Program
19% faucets
7% leaks
6% other