During the 7 p.m., Monday, January 28 meeting of the Windsor Town Board, the seven member group will consider adopting a resolution to increase Windsor Water Utility’s annual water rates an additional 6.21% starting with the April water bill. That’s in addition to its recent annual increase of 3.29% which will be reflected in the March bill.
In 2018, the average single-family residential water consumption charges were about $35.06 per month and with this latest increase, in 2019 that average will be approximately $38.37 per month.
Windsor’s Water Utility water rates cover the cost of including the collection, cleaning, filtering, disinfecting and testing of water used in residents’ homes. Because Windsor’s Water Utility serves the purpose of delivering safe, clean water to its residents in the most cost-effective way possible, town staff regularly review Windsor’s water rates to ensure that it can pay for residents’ supply. The initial rate increase reflected in the March utility bill was part of the traditional annual rate increase. The newest increase takes into consideration the town’s need for additional water shares and brings Windsor closer to having water independence and security.
“The cost of delivering high-quality, reliable drinking water in a manner that values the environment, and protects the community has increased,” said Town of Windsor Mayor Kristie Melendez. “This additional increase will ensure our ability to sustain this important and finite natural resource.”
Since 2009, staff have researched and worked with outside consultants to review and determine the best way to afford and secure Windsor’s water future. The Town Board, along with staff, have reviewed data to forecast future water supply and needs, in addition to ways it can make Windsor’s water system more resilient to potential natural disasters, changing demand and other trends. The combined increase brings the total cost of a single gallon of potable water to $0.004. **The original press release erroneously stated that the increase would be $0.04 per gallon.
When water service is compared to the cost of other services, such as cable, water is an exceptional value. By comparison, the current average cost for a gallon of organic reduced fat milk is $4.08 and in 2018 the average cost was $2.45 for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline.
According to Town Manager Shane Hale, “In cities and towns all along the Front Range, the cost to deliver reliable water services to homes and businesses continues to increase. To protect Windsor’s share of Colorado water resources, the town needs to take a proactive approach to the way it acquires and protects its future water supply.”
Currently, Windsor owns shares in the North Poudre Irrigation Company and Colorado-Big Thompson Project. The town owns 4,100 acre-feet of water, but projections show that it will need 15,800 acre-feet to meet growing demands.
“If we don’t purchase additional water rights, they will go to other communities,” says Town Manager Shane Hale. “Water secures our economic future so that if a new restaurant or corporation comes to town, we will have water to support it.”
Conservation is the most inexpensive way to make the town’s water supplies more affordable and sustainable.
According to Windsor’s Water Resource Manager John Thornhill, “Windsor’s residents have done a great job conserving water. Without their water conservation efforts, rates would have increased substantially more than they are today.”
With limited supplies, water conservation is a necessary practice to manage water resources for the future and it saves customers money in the long run. While water rates will continue to increase over time, those who conserve will always pay less than those who waste.
“Every gallon saved is a gallon that doesn’t need to be pumped, treated or delivered – those savings are reflected in each customer’s water bill,” said Thornhill.
There are local agencies who offer affordability programs for families struggling to pay their water utility bill. United Way 2-1-1 provides need-based services and can be reached at 970-407-7066 and Stepping Stones of Windsor is another outreach dedicated to helping families in financial need that can be reached at 970-686-2368.
To learn more about Windsor’s Water Utility, visit windsorgov.com/Utilities or call 970-674-2400. To learn about Windsor’s Town Board, its meetings and the next meeting agenda, visit windsorgov.com/TownBoard.