Ute Water to raise rates in 2013
Minimum water users will pay $2 more per month
Ute Water officials announced Tuesday morning that the district's going to raise water rates in 2013.
According to Joseph Burtard, spokesman for the Ute Water Conservancy District, the new water rate increases the $15 minimum, for the first 3,000 gallons of water, to a $17 minimum.
Burtard says the minimum water rate for all other tap sizes will also increase proportionally. Customers using over 3,000 gallons in a billing cycle will see a ten cent increase in each of the tiers.
The water rate increase comes after the district completed a study in 2011 identifying future water needs based on projected population in the area, according to officials.
The study also brought up multi-year drought protection in the Grand Valley.
The raw water study determined that Ute Water will be serving a population of 197,000 consumers by the year 2045.
Officials said in order to meet the projected demands of 80 gallons per capita per day, the district will need 21,400 acre-feet of additional water supply.
In response, the district has agreed to make the largest single water purchase in its 56 year history.
A financial agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation was approved by district directors this past week.
The agreement allows Ute Water to purchase 12,000 acre-foot of water from Ruedi Reservoir for $1,297.90 an acre-foot., according to Burtard.
Ruedi Reservoir is located 15-miles above the town of Basalt.
"The district will utilize this water as a reliable insurance policy for the Grand Valley. An investment that will allow the district to meet the future water needs of the Grand Valley while giving us a dependable source of water during drought conditions," said Burtard.
Officials say Ute Water's primary source of revenue is water sales and the revenue from water sales are expected to cover the operations, maintenance and the replacement cost of the existing infrastructure while preparing for future demands and upgrades to the system.
Earlier in December, officials with the Clifton Water District announced that they'll be raising water rates next year as well. The increase is virtually the same as the amount Ute Water is implementing.
The Clifton Water District doesn't collect property tax revenue as other water providers do, so it operates exclusively through income generated by water rates and tap fees, according to officials.
"Our district reserves are starting to go down and not be replenished and so the rate increase was determined to help off-set some of those increased costs, also [to] provide the district funds needed to implement some delayed capital projects we had put off because of the economy," said David Reinertsen, assistant manager for Clifton Water.
The Clifton Water District serves about 40,000 residents around Grand Junction.
Ute Water provides domestic water to over 80,000 people in Mesa County, making it the largest domestic water provider between Denver and Salt Lake City, according to Burtard.
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