Local News

Increased Water Rates Could Be Next Step in Raleigh's Drought Battle

Posted January 16, 2008

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— The Raleigh City Council's Public Works Committee is considering a 50 percent surcharge on water customers' bills – the latest way to save the city's dwindling water supply by making consumption costly.

The rate increase would be temporary, and leaders believe it would help cut use among water customers in municipalities that buy water from the city.

"We believe they will, based on the experience other communities have had," Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp said.

At least one board member, however, has reservations about whether the proposal will affect customers and whether it will help conserve what's left of the city's 116-day water supply (as of Wednesday).

"Isn't this the kind of a surcharge that is going to be more of an impact on people with low incomes than it is on people with high incomes," Councilman Russ Stephenson said. "And for them, is a 50 percent surcharge even going to be noticeable? Is that going to incentivize any conservation behavior at all?"

Instead, Stephenson would like to see a tiered system in which customers who use the most water pay at a higher rate.

The problem, however, is that the software that produces Raleigh water bills is not designed to handle a tiered system.

Stephenson said there might be a way to make an upgrade sooner than later, but the City Council has held off on the idea of a tiered system.

The Public Works Committee wants to consider all available options before making a recommendation to the council.

Wake County municipalities that purchase water from Raleigh – Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon – would be affected by whatever the council decides.

37 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 17, 2008

    One positive about raising the water rates is that Mayor Meeker and his Socialist allies on the city council won't get re-elected in 2009.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Jan 17, 2008

    What a rip off - I am so glad I don't live in Raleigh.

    Has the city done anything to slow down growth? Or are they planning on helicoptering in an iceberg or two, to set down in Falls Lake, when we need it?

  • hollylama Jan 17, 2008

    "Isn't this the kind of a surcharge that is going to be more of an impact on people with low incomes than it is on people with high incomes," Councilman Russ Stephenson said. "And for them, is a 50 percent surcharge even going to be noticeable? Is that going to incentivize any conservation behavior at all?"

    Ditto...

  • Nobody but Carolina Jan 17, 2008

    foetine, while I see where you're coming from and understand you frustration about those of us that live in towns outside Raleigh; incorporation of those towns wouldn't happen because Raleigh officials wouldn't want to give up the added income they receive from the higher water rates we are already being charged. A better thought would be for Raleigh to not consider the Little River Reservoir that is looking to be completed in 10 or 12 years as an additional water resource for Raleigh, but let it be the water resource for Rolesville, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon only. Then we could be off your "tap."

  • Mac Cool Jan 17, 2008

    Maybe if we just keep pretending there isn't a water shortage it will go away. I'm reading a lot of silly complaints, no solutions.

  • foetine Jan 17, 2008

    They need to stop selling our water to Knightdale and other places that parade around deluded that they are towns. If you can't provide water to your citizens, you are not a town. Knightdale needs to just admit they can't survive without Raleigh and allow themselves to be incorportated Otherwise they need to dig their own stinking wells. Get off my tap!

  • CherryDarling Jan 17, 2008

    This is just a way for the city to make money.

    END of story.

  • CherryDarling Jan 17, 2008

    "a tiered system in which customers who use the most water pay at a higher rate"???

    so, some SLOB who does not bathe or flush his toilet on a regular basis will pay less than the rest of us who know what personal grooming is? Great...

    This is as ridiculous as when there was a suggestion from the mayor (I think) that not flushing our toilets is a good way to save water.

    That's DISGUSTING!

  • bobbythreesticks Jan 17, 2008

    This will not help. Period. This is a ridiculous idea to help with the consumption. Wake bills everyone only 6 months out of the year, how is increasing the rate on usage, that we see every 2 months, going to help us cut back? If we have 120 days left, by the time we see what our consumption actually is and the higher bills, we have already used half the supply.

  • spiritualexplorer Jan 17, 2008

    I'm curious. Why doesn't the City of Raleigh take this opportunity to dredge Falls Lake right now while there is no water in it?

    The city could use bulldozers to depend large area of the empty lake right now, which I would think would be easier than actually dredging, and vastly increase the reservoir capacity for the future.

    Why not turn this drought into an opportunity, and increase the lake capacity?

    Just wondering.

More...