Despite protests by the representatives for several Round Rock homeowners associations, the Round Rock City Council unanimously voted to adopt a new water rate schedule that officials say they hope will push greater conservation.
The new four-tiered rate schedule would raise rates for the heaviest users from May to September, when usage is at its highest. Round Rock Utilities Director Michael Thane said the top 16 percent of residential users accounted for 42 percent of the residential water use in the city.
The intent, council members said, was to seek greater conservation.
“Water is a very precious resource, and we need to guard it carefully,” Mayor Pro Tem Carlos Salinas said. “We do have to alter our behavior.”
Rates would stay the same for customers who use less than 24,000 gallons per month, but would rise with water use exceeding that amount. The schedule would be as follows during peak months (based on a 5/8-inch meter, the typical residential meter):
- First tier: $2.35 per 1,000 gallons for consumption between 0 and 18,000 gallons
- Second tier: $2.94 per 1,000 gallons for consumption between 18,001 and 24,000 gallons
- Third tier: $3.53 per 1,000 gallons for consumption between 24,001 and 30,000 gallons
- Fourth tier: $4.70 per 1,000 gallons for consumption greater than 30,001 gallons
Those tiers rise in multiples based on the size of the water meter, meaning higher rates would not kick in until higher levels of consumption for meter rates up to 2-inch meters.
Current rates are $2.35 per 1,000 gallons up to 18,000 gallons and $2.94 per gallon above that. Rates during off-peak months will remain at $2.35 per 1,000 gallons.
Representatives for several HOAs said they would suffer due to higher rates and that they would not support conservation because they were unable to lower their usage below the higher tiers.
However, Thane said those issues could be solved by installing a larger meter, which would place those groups in lower tiers.
Larger meters have higher thresholds for usage tiers, but cost more than smaller meters, carry a larger impact fee and a higher monthly base charge.
There is no difference in the rate schedule for commercial or residential properties, and Thane said the intent was not to impact daily operation of commercial properties.