Austinites might soon see the cost of Texas’ prolonged drought directly on their water bills.
For the first time ever, the Austin Water Utility is considering charging a “drought fee” sometime this year if the drought gets even worse.
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Possible drought fees
If the drought worsens, the Austin Water Utility might charge its customers an extra “drought fee” to make up some of the money it loses as Austinites conserve water. Below are the five options the utility is considering. The drought fee would only kick in if lake levels continue to drop and Austin enters Stage 3 or Stage 4 watering restrictions.
(The utility also plans to increase its base rates next year, resulting in a base monthly charge of $49.12 for the typical homeowner, up from $38.35 this year.)
Fee of $1 (Stage 3) or $2.75 (Stage 4) for every 1,000 gallons that any customer (a home or business) uses.
Fee for typical homeowner (who uses 7,000 gallons a month): $7 (Stage 3) or $19.25 (Stage 4)
Total water bill: $56.12 (Stage 3) or $68.37 (Stage 4)
Different fees for each type of customer (single-family homes, apartment complexes, smaller businesses and larger companies/agencies) for every 1,000 gallons used.
Fee for typical homeowner: $5.18 (Stage 3) or $18.41 (Stage 4)
Total water bill: $54.30 (Stage 3) or $67.53 (Stage 4)
Similar to Dallas’ program. For residential customers, fee would kick in only if they use more than 11,000 gallons per month. All nonresidential customers would pay a fee regardless of how much water they use.
Fee for typical homeowner: $0 (Stage 3 or Stage 4)
Total water bill: $49.12 (Stage 3 or Stage 4)
Different fees for homes and businesses; fees also based on amount of water used.
Fee for typical homeowner: $5 (Stage 3) or $22.50 (Stage 4)
Total water bill: $54.12 (Stage 3) or $71.62 (Stage 4)
Different, flat fee for each type of customer (single-family homes, apartment complexes, smaller businesses and larger companies/agencies).
Fee for typical homeowner in Stage 3: $4 (Stage 3) or $12 (Stage 4)
Total water bill: $53.12 (Stage 3) or $61.12 (Stage 4)