How are Water and Wastewater Rates Determined?
The City’s water rate structure consists of two components: a fixed monthly charge based on the size of the water meter at each connection, and a series of volumetric rates assessed based on total water use as measured in units of one hundred cubic feet (CCF), equivalent to 748 gallons. The rate per one hundred cubic feet increases as monthly usage increases. The rate for the first tier is applied to each CCF of water use for usage between 1 and 14 CCF (10,470 gallons), the second tier rate is for usage between 15 and 43 CCF (32,160 gallons), the third tier rate is applied for usage between 44 and 100 CCF (748,000 gallons), and the fourth tier rate is charged for each CCF of water use in excess of 100 CCF (Not represented in graph below).
The wastewater rate structure also consists of two components: 1) the monthly service charge based on the size of the meter; and 2) a volume charge that is based on the amount of wastewater created. This metric is reflective of the 4 tier rate structure displayed above under water rates.
The City of Billings regularly reviews the water and wastewater rates to determine whether the current rates are generating adequate revenue to cover the cost of providing safe drinking water and wastewater services to the entire community. Safe drinking water and reliable infrastructure is a priority for the City in order to accommodate current needs and future growth.
Billings Public Works may propose an increase to existing rates when necessary. These changes would be reflected in the fixed monthly minimum charges and the volume charges for water and wastewater, private fire protection, permit and other miscellaneous special fees. The rate adjustments are needed to cover the increasing cost of service due to community growth and increased utilization. Providing for necessary future improvements and facility expansion to accommodate the needs of the community is also a consideration when rate changes are requested.
Conservation to maintain affordable water rates
The City of Billings actively promotes conservation through its water rate structure, to both conserve its water supply and to manage long-term capital needs. As the City continues to grow, additional infrastructure will be needed to meet increased capacity requirements. The intent of the conservation rate structure is to enable users to work together to manage total peak water use demands, and thus wastewater flows, to effectively delay future water and wastewater system expansion needs. This saves everyone money
“Tip of the Month”
Don’t set it and forget it! You should water your grass less in May than you would in July. Adjust your irrigation timers each month to account for weather and precipitation changes
Check out other tips and tools available for water conservation and sustainable landscape design:
EPA WaterSense - www.epa.gov/watersense
Alliance for Water Efficiency - www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org
American Water Works Association - www.awwa.org/resources-tools/water-knowledge/water-conservation
Montana State University Library - guides.lib.montana.edu
Montana Drinking Water Conservation and Quality - deq.mt.gov