Utility grows by 5,000 new customers in past year from new residents
With water use for lawn irrigation increasing as the weather gets warmer, customers may see an increase in their water bills due to new water rates that went into effect on Jan. 1.
For the average water customer using 10,200 gallons per month, the monthly water bill will increase to $46.25 from $40.98. Customers using 7,000 gallons per month or less will see a modest increase of 10 cents per thousand gallons on their bill. An increase to the base rate or fixed monthly charge of $1.50 applies to all residential customers.
In the new water usage rate tier, the highest rate of $8.40 per thousand gallons now applies to monthly water use above 25,000 gallons. Under the previous rates, the highest rate of $8.50 per thousand gallons did not apply until 60,000 gallons. This means that, as an example, a customer using 50,000 gallons per month would see a water use cost of $292.95, up from $186.50 last year.
These are the water rates that went into effect on Jan. 1.
|Volumetric water rates (per 1,000 gallons)|
|25,000 and more||$8.40|
The new water rates were adopted by the City in October following a cost-of-service rate study that was completed last year. The study helped determine the rates and rate structure needed to equitably fund the water utility, including all costs associated with operating, maintaining, and expanding the utility. New development pays an impact fee in addition to the water rates to help cover the cost of new infrastructure.
Water treatment plant capacity
Since last summer, more than 5,000 new utility customers have been added to the Georgetown water utility service area due to continued population growth from new housing starts. While expansions of the Lake Water Treatment Plant and the Hoover Pump Station are currently underway, the City has contracted with the City of Leander to purchase an additional 3 million gallons of treatment capacity this year to help address the growth in customers.
“The addition of nearly 9 million gallons per day of treatment capacity at the Lake Water Treatment Plant is under construction to help us meet demand from the rapid population growth in our service territory,” says Chelsea Solomon, water utility director for the City of Georgetown. “However, that expansion is not expected to come online until the summer of 2023. Last year in August, we reached 97 percent of water plant capacity due to high irrigation demand and watering outside the two-day schedule. With 5,000 additional customers and a limited amount of additional treatment capacity, it is imperative that we use our resources responsibly, and follow our ordinances so that we can reduce the chances of further restrictions this summer.”
During the summer months, 75 percent of the drinking water treated each day in the city is used for irrigation of lawns and landscapes.
City of Georgetown water utility customers should make sure they follow the two-day watering schedule for irrigation systems and hose-end sprinklers. The year-round, two-day per week irrigation schedule is based on the last digit of the street address.
|Address ends in:||May water these days:|
|1, 5, 9||Tuesday and/or Friday|
|2, 4, 6, 8||Wednesday and/or Saturday|
|0, 3, 7||Thursday and/or Sunday|
Irrigation is not permitted on Mondays because they are a maintenance and recovery day for the water system. Watering with a hand-held hose or bucket or washing a vehicle can be done any day at any time.
Violations of the irrigation schedule may result in fines.
The best time for watering your lawn and landscape is on your watering day in the early morning hours after midnight. This allows the water to soak into the soil and reach the roots of your grass and plants. Watering during the heat of the day, especially between noon and 7 p.m., should be avoided since much of the water sprayed from sprinklers will evaporate and is wasted.
Water rebates and conservation programs
The City offers customer rebates to encourage water conservation. A $75 rebate is available to customers to help offset the cost of having your irrigation controller inspected by a licensed irrigator and set to our recommended specifications. Irrigation efficiency rebates of up to $150 are available for spray-to-drip whole-zone conversion, multi-stream nozzle whole-zone conversion, and smart controller replacement to replace your existing controller with a Wi-Fi enabled, weather-based controller. Rebates are offered on a first-come, first-served basis while funding is available.
Customers also may sign up for AquaAlerts, which are emails that are sent when your water use hits pre-set levels each month. Or sign up for GUARD, which allows you to track your water and electric use daily.
For information on programming your irrigation controller, water rebates and programs, and more, visit water.georgetown.org.