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Phoenix residents, businesses face more water rate increases

Phoenix is considering substantial changes to the way it charges people for water.

Compared to five years ago, the city’s Water Services Department says it’s paying 35% more for raw water, 136% more for chemicals and 38% more in personnel costs. 

Phoenix customers have seen rate increases five times in the last six years and could face three more years of increases. Based on recommendations from the Citizens’ Water/Wastewater Rate Advisory Committee, the department is asking for the following :

Water rate increases

  • 6.5% effective October 2023.
  •  6.5% effective March 2024.
  • 13% effective March 2025.

Wastewater rate increases:

  • 6.5% effective October 2023.
  • 6.5% effective March 2024.
  • 7% effective March 2025.

The department also wants to change the rate structure that contains an allocation of water for each customer in the monthly base service charge. By reducing the water amount in the monthly base charge, it will reduce number of customers that fall into the lowest category. The department expects the change will raise $17 million. 
“If it’s been a little confusing for all of us sitting up here, that we’ve all gotten briefings for a while, I can only imagine what this is going to be like for our residents,” Councilwoman Betty Guardado said during a meeting Wednesday. 

She pushed staff to conduct significant community outreach and said, “Without the public input I just think that we're going to disrespect a lot of people, we’re going to piss off a lot of people that I think would be OK with this, but if we don't take this to them first I can see a lot of neighbors coming back to us and saying that we’re taking them for granted.”

The city also wants to raise the storm water excise tax to meet new federal requirements. 

Community meetings will be held before the city council discusses the proposals, likely in April. If, after holding a public hearing, council members approve the changes they will take effect Oct. 1, 2023.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.