Water bill could go up slightly in January

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) Your water bill could soon go up.

The El Paso Water staff presented its proposed $506 million budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 to the Public Service Board.

The proposed budget includes a 2-percent increase in water and wastewater fees. If approved, the average residential customer would pay $1.11 more per month.

The proposal does not include an increase to the stormwater fee. Both are below financial plan projections, which called for a 3-percent increase to the stormwater fee and a 5-percent increase in water/wastewater rates.

According to El Paso Water, this is the third year in a row that staff proposed no increase in stormwater fees.

The PSB requested to see options for a minimal increase to the stormwater fee to allow for the completion of additional flood control projects. These fee options will be presented to the PSB for consideration at its Dec. 9 meeting. The board will vote on the budget on Jan. 13.

El Paso Water said the increase to water and wastewater rates will fund projects such as securing El Paso’s future water supply, improving system reliability through rehabilitation of aging infrastructure and expanding systems for city growth.

Capital improvement projects for the new fiscal year include drilling new wells; rehabilitating several water tanks; upgrades and/or expansion of the Roberto Bustamante, Fred Hervey and John T. Hickerson wastewater treatment plants; improvements to the Jonathan Rogers and Canal river water treatment plants; and technology and facility upgrades to increase operations efficiency. 

The first phase of a capital project that will recharge the Hueco Bolson aquifer to secure this important water supply will be launched, with work including excavation and construction of infiltration infrastructure along a 1.3-mile stretch of arroyo in Northeast El Paso, providing urban greenspace and trails along the arroyo.

Upon completion of the multi-year project, treated Rio Grande water during plentiful seasons will be used to help stabilize the aquifer and improve drought resilience.

“We have built an innovative portfolio of water resources, and this is just one way we are ensuring EPWater customers have a reliable source of water,” said El Paso Water President and CEO John Balliew. “It is especially needed when we do not have a plentiful river water season.”

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