Officials to discuss hiking water rates

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque city officials will discuss Wednesday whether or not consumers should pay higher water rates.

The city saved much more water this year than expected, so officials say they need to make up for lost revenue.

City officials say water usage to date is down by about 2.5 billion gallons compared to this time last year, and that has caused a $9 million budget shortfall.

Officials say they were not anticipating that level of success in conserving water so quickly. The goal was to use 135 gallons per person every day over the next 10 years, and customers actually achieved that in one year.

If this rate adjustment is approved by the board, all users will pay about $3 extra per month.

Officials emphasize that saving water in the desert is important, but the city needs money for projects.

“We have a number of infrastructure projects we need to move forward with, particularly rehabilitation of the south side sewage treatment plant, which was built in the early 1960s. So as water use goes down and we get less revenue, it does become necessary to occasionally adjust the rates so we can keep revenue where it needs to be to do these infrastructure projects,” said David Morris of Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority.

The meeting will start at 5 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. Public input is welcome.

The staff is asking for the rate adjustment, but it will not be officially decided on until next month when voting takes place on the budget.

The board will also consider an ordinance that would require the utility to require supplemental water fluoridation.

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