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Phoenix leaders consider proposal to raise water rates by 6 percent

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council was considering a recommendation to increase water rates by 6 percent for each of the next two years to help pay for infrastructure and other improvements to the aging system.

That works out to $2.35 more per month in 2019 and $2.29 in 2020, the city said on its website. The recommendation was discussed Tuesday.

The average water bill in Phoenix is about $36 a month. A chart included in the city council policy session paperwork showed Phoenix on the lower end of water rates among larger cities.

The proposal cited drought and looming shortages on the Colorado River, which supplies water to Arizona and six other southwestern states. Tentative agreements were reached between those states this week on how to manage the overburdened river.

The city proposal also pointed to aging infrastructure and the need to replaces pipes that were as old as 100 years and making other improvements to the 7,000 miles of pipelines and 450,000 service lines.

(City of Phoenix)

Water department spokeswoman Stephanie Bracken said in an email that if the rate increase was approved, “We expect an additional revenue of approximately $25 million in 2019 and $25 million in 2020. To put it in perspective, our current annual revenue is $400 million.”

The report said, in part:

To ensure reliable deliveries of clean, safe water to our community, we must continue to invest in the replacement and rehabilitation of aging infrastructure.”

The council was scheduled to vote on the proposal Dec. 12. If approved, the rate increase would go into effect Feb. 4, 2019.

The water department planned to host a series of open houses for residents about the price increase.

The first of the meetings was to be held Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the water treatment administration building near 24th Street and Maryland Avenue.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Kathy Cline contributed to this report.

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