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Denver metro area will see higher water rates next year

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Residents in the Denver metro area will see a slight hike in their water rates starting next year.  

The Denver Board of Water Commissioners approved the rate hikes this week that they say will help fund “critical upgrades and projects.”

Residents within the city can expect to see their monthly bills increase by about $1 starting Jan. 1, 2020. Residents outside of the city can expect their monthly bills to increase by $1.15 to $1.36. The amounts are based on residents who use 103,000 gallons of water a year.

“Our rates will fund important projects like building a new state-of-the-art water treatment plant and laboratory, expanding a key reservoir and the ongoing replacement of aging water pipes,” Denver Water CEO/Manager Jim Lochhead said. “While costs to maintain and upgrade this system continue to rise, we have worked to keep rate increases as small as possible.”

Denver Water plans on doing 140 projects over the next five years, a plan that  is expected to cost $1.3 billion, the agency said. One of those projects is a plan to expand Gross Reservoir near Boulder. 

Denver Water operates facilities in 12 counties and provides water to 1.4 million residents in the city and suburbs. It also is responsible for 3,000 miles of pipeline, 20 dams, 22 pump stations, 30 underground storage tanks, and four treatment plants around the Front Range.

“The water provider does not make a profit or receive tax dollars and reinvests ratepayers’ money to maintain and upgrade the water system,” Denver Water said in a statement. The utility instead receives funding from water rate revenues, bond sales, and sales and fees from hydropower.

In 2018, the commission approved new rates that took place this year. Those inside the city saw monthly rate increases of about 55 cents, while residents outside the city saw monthly increases between $1.90 and 3.40.