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Phoenix seeks water rate increase to cope with drought, fix infrastructure

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Phoenix residents can expect to pay more for water next year, as the city is seeking a rate increase to prepare for drought conditions and fix old pipes and facilities.

“We’ve been planning for drought for decades, and so this isn’t really ‘Oh my gosh, we’re running out of water,’” Troy Hayes, Phoenix assistant water services director, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

“It’s more of we need to put infrastructure in to make sure that we can move it to where we need it to be so that we’re secure for the foreseeable future.”

The city is proposing a 6 percent rate increase in 2019 and another 6 percent in 2020. A notice of intent for the increase will be filed in October, and the City Council is expected to vote on it Dec. 12.

Hayes said 6 percent translates to about $2.35 per month for the average user.

“We have enough water for decades to come,” Hayes said. “It’s not in the right place.”

Some water is stored underground, so the city wants to install wells, pump stations and transmission mains to move the water if drought conditions persist.

The city also needs to pay to replace or repair aging pipes, pump stations and treatment plants.

“We have pipelines that were installed in the ‘20s and the ‘30s that are coming of age that we need to get replaced, and we’re going to be spending a large portion of this trying to replace those,” Hayes said.

The city also has five treatment plants built in 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s that need continual rehab and replacement work.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report.

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