County's water rates are going up

Clayton County Water Authority customers will pay more for water, effective Jan. 1, officials have announced.

The increase reflects a 5-percent adjustment for all water and sewer base rates, and a 5-percent adjustment for all water and sewer usage charges, to offset rising operational costs and declining revenues, said spokeswoman Suzanne Brown.

Authority General Manager P. Michael Thomas, said the average increase is about $2 a month, depending on usage.

"Our average residential customer, with water and sewer service, uses 4,000 gallons a month," Thomas said. "This rate adjustment will mean a $2 increase in their monthly bill."

The new base rate for water for single-family customers will be $8.93, and the new base rate for sewer for single-family customers will be $9.45.

The new usage charges will be based on a series of conservation tiers:

• The first tier is $2.10 for customers who use 1,000-3,000 gallons a month.

• The second tier will be charged $5.05 for 4,000-7,000 gallons.

• The charge for third-tier usage is $6.25 for 8,000-20,000 gallons.

• Fourth-tier customers will be charged $7.50 for more than 20,000 gallons of water every month.

There are two tiers of single-family sewer conservation usage:

• For 1,000-3,000 gallons, customers will pay $2.26.

• Second-tier customers will be charged $5.30 for more than 3,000 gallons of usage.

Brown said the stormwater fees will remain the same.

Thomas said the increases are necessary, because water usage is down, while the cost to operate the water-and-sewer system continues to go up.

"We are seeing an 11-percent increase in our chemical costs and a 10-percent increase in fuel costs," he said.

Unlike many water providers, Clayton’s water authority does not receive any tax dollars, operating solely on water, sewer and stormwater revenues, said Brown. The authority has reduced chemical costs by changing some processes at its treatment plants and reduced the run time of one of its water-production facilities by eliminating a second shift.

"This rate adjustment is also needed to ensure that CCWA continues to comply with its bond debt covenants and with its ‘pay as you go’ strategy to maintain and invest in its infrastructure, so additional bond debt is not needed," said Thomas. "It is also vital that CCWA remains proactive about maintaining its 1,500 miles of water lines and 1,400 miles of sewer lines, its three water reclamation facilities, and three water production facilities."