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Proposed increase would raise Houston water bills every year for the next 5 years

Mayor Sylvester Turner said the rate hike is necessary to cover the increasing cost of service, including maintaining, replacing, and upgrading aging infrastructure.
Credit: KFSM

Houston residents will see higher water bills if a proposal from the mayor is passed by City Council.

They're scheduled to vote on the water and wastewater rate increases next Wednesday, June 23.

Under the proposal, the rates would increase annually for the next five years.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said the rate hike is necessary to cover the increasing cost of service, including maintaining, replacing, and upgrading aging infrastructure.

He said the higher rates would help cut back on water main breaks and improve the system’s resilience during extreme weather like hurricanes and the winter freeze.

Turner said the rate increases are also needed to pay for investments ordered by the EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Under the agreement with TCEQ, Houston must resolve sanitary sewer overflows and other wastewater violations by paying fines and making improvements to the wastewater system over the next 15 years.

“Houston's wastewater system is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the nation, with approximately 6,000 miles of wastewater pipes, 382 lift stations to move waste due to Houston's flat topography, and 39 wastewater treatment plants,” the Turner said.

If approved, he said 60% of residential customers would probably pay about $5 more on their July bills and some bills could go down.

Houston last increased water and wastewater rates beyond the automatic annual rate adjustments in 2010.

Assistance is available for some customers, including the W.A.T.E.R. (Water Aid to Elderly Residents) fund. You can also request adjustments for leaks or unusually high water bills.

For more information, go to houstontx.gov/citysec or email publicworks@houstontx.gov.

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