In order to prepare for drought conditions and allow for the repair of old pipes and facilities, the city of Phoenix is seeking a water rate increase next year.
“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.”
A six-percent rate increase in 2019 and an additional six-percent increase in 2020 are currently being proposed by the city. In October, a notice of intent for the rate increase will be filed, with the City Council expected to vote on the plan on December 12.
For the average user, the rate increase translates to roughly $2.35 per month.
“We have enough water for decades to come,” Hayes said. “It’s not in the right place.”
The city wants to install wells, pump stations and transmission mains to move the water stored underground in the event that drought conditions persist. The funds from the increase will also be used to replace or repair aging pipes, pump stations and treatment plants.
“We have pipelines that were installed in the 1920s and the 1930s 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.
Five treatment plants built from the 1950s until the 1970s also require repair and replacement.