New Georgetown water, wastewater rates take effect April 1

Mar 27, 2024

Georgetown City Council voted Tuesday to raise water and wastewater rates effective April 1—an increase expected to add about $15 to the monthly utility bill of the average single-family residential household, which uses about 10,000 gallons of water per month.

Recommended by the Water Utility Advisory Board in February, the rate increase was enacted primarily to cover the cost of the City’s two-year water reservation agreement with EPCOR. Signed in August 2023, the agreement reserves the City’s right to buy groundwater from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer as it negotiates a long-term water supply contract with the company to meet its needs through 2050.

“Georgetown has enough water to meet current and near-term demand, but we need to increase our water supply by the end of this decade and that requires us to plan and invest for that now,” Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “We’re doing all we can to hold costs down, but the bottom line is that the era of cheap abundant water is over in all of Texas—not just for Georgetown.”

With a roughly 400-square-mile service area that extends far outside its city limits, Georgetown utility’s customer base has doubled in the last decade, and the City’s Integrated Water Resources Plan projects the utility will add about 5,000 new customers a year from 2024 to 2042.  The plan identified a need to secure more water by 2030 to meet the projected demand for all water needs including irrigation.

Without a significant new supply, the utility will not run out of water in 2030, but it would most likely have to impose systemwide water restrictions on irrigation year-round with even tighter restrictions during periods of drought. Currently, about 70 percent of Georgetown’s residential water is used for irrigation during peak summer months, when temporary water restrictions are sometimes imposed.

The City’s water reservation agreement with EPCOR is critical to enabling the City to move forward negotiating a long-term water supply deal for up to 62.5 million gallons per day with enough time to have the infrastructure in place to transport the water to Georgetown from Robertson County by 2030.

The Georgetown Water Utility has experienced significant cost increases in recent years due to inflation, higher interest rates, aging facilities, and the need to increase its water supply and resiliency. The City began doing annual rate studies with a five-year outlook in 2022 and expects water rates to increase annually for the near future.

Recent annual rate increases have helped the utility cover a wide range of rising expenses including rehabilitating two aging wastewater treatment plants, expanding the utility’s water treatment capacity, and adding backup power sources to treatment plants and pump stations as recently required by the Texas Legislature.

Georgetown’s water rates remained among the lowest in the region even after the most recent annual increase was approved by City Council last August. City leaders explained at the time that an additional rate increase would be required in early 2024 to cover the cost of the EPCOR agreement.

Learn more about the City’s water rates here.

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