For the first time in 7 years, Ute Water increases water rates and tap fees beginning in 2023
For the first time in seven years, Ute Water Conservancy District’s (District) Board of Directors approved a water rate increase and a tap fee increase during their regularly scheduled board meeting on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022.
The new water rate increases the $22.00 minimum, for the first 3,000 gallons of water, to a $25.00 minimum per month. The tiers for residential water usage above the 3,000-gallon minimum will also increase by approximately 15 percent. The minimum water rate and tiers for non-residential water use will increase proportionally as well.
The new water rates go into effect for water delivered in January 2023 and billed beginning February 1, 2023. Based on 2022 water usage data, the average Ute Water customer's water bill will increase by $4.41.
Ute Water provides domestic water to approximately 88,000 customers in Mesa County, making it the largest domestic water provider between Denver, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The District's mission and commitment to the community is to secure and provide the highest quality water to meet customers’ current and future needs at the lowest reasonable cost. Ute Water allocates funds each year to treat water, replace aging infrastructure, improve redundancy, and secure water for current and future needs.
The last time the District raised water rates and tap fees was in 2016. Much like the rest of the country, Ute Water has been subject to increased operating costs driven by inflation, and in recent years, chemical costs critical to the water treatment process have increased in price dramatically due to supply chain issues. The 2023 budget includes a 77 percent increase in chemical costs from the 2022 budget. Some of the chemicals used in the water treatment process have risen in cost by up to 300 percent between 2021 and 2022.
Ute Water utilizes a full-cost pricing approach when evaluating water rates each year. The District’s primary source of revenue is water sales. The revenue from water sales is expected to cover all operations, maintenance, and replacement costs of the existing infrastructure while preparing for future demands and upgrades to the system.
Historically, Ute Water’s minimum is competitively priced with the City of Grand Junction, and Clifton Water District. Ute Water, the City of Grand Junction, and Clifton Water District have historically maintained rates that are significantly lower than the minimum rate of the Town of Palisade.
Also effective February 1, 2023, new development will see a $1,000 increase in tap fees for a 5/8-inch meter, which is the most common meter used in standard residential services. The new tap fees will increase a 5/8-inch water meter fee from $7,000 to $8,000. Tap fees for larger-sized meters will increase proportionally. The increase in tap fees is due to the increase in capital upgrades and infrastructure maintenance costs, which have consistently increased since the last time Ute Water increased tap fees in 2016.
For additional information on Ute Water’s new water rates and tap fees and to calculate how the increase will impact your water bill beginning February 1, 2023, visit utewater.org/2023rates.