Water Authority proposes rate hike to pay for upgrades

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Crews have started fixing up old water lines in Nob Hill trying to prevent a big problem in the metro-area: bursting pipes and wasted water. That work is just a drop in the bucket, though.

A spokesperson for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority says a proposed rate hike would pay for much-needed infrastructure renewal.

Since 2008 the ABCWUA has replaced 14 miles of steel pipes, the kind of pipe that fails most often. The work has cost about $1 million a year and there’s still 76 miles of steel pipes that are at risk of breaking.

The ABCWUA spokesperson says it’s cheaper to replace pipes instead of waiting for them to become a problem.

“That could easily be double or triple or even more if we had to come in on an emergency unplanned basis to do that replacement after it broke,” David Morris told KRQE News 13.

The steel pipes are a small piece of the problem. The ABCWUA is concerned about an aging sewage treatment plant that was built in the1960s.

Currently the ABCWUA spends $40 million a year to replace parts, but they want to get that number up to $76 million.

To get there the ABCWUA is asking for a rate increase this summer. The board is scheduled to vote on the proposed rate hike on May 21.

The water utility authority says it needs more money because more people are conserving. It would go into effect in July and the average customer would see an extra $3 a month on their bills.

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