NCWSA con­sid­ers brand new wa­ter con­ser­va­tion rates

Changes aimed at killing wa­ter waste

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Rachel Oswald

The New­ton County Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Author­ity is con­sid­er­ing the adop­tion of new rates to en­cour­age greater wa­ter con­ser­va­tion among its res­i­den­tial cus­tomers.

The ma­jor­ity of NCWSA’s ap­prox­i­mately 23,000 wa­ter cus­tomers, who have al­ready taken ac­tions to con­serve their wa­ter us­age, would not see an in­crease in their monthly wa­ter bills if the new rate struc­ture does go into ef­fect said NCWSA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Mike Hop­kins.

Ac­cord­ing to Hop­kins, the ma­jor­ity of the author­ity’s cus- tomers use 3,000 gal­lons of wa­ter or less on a monthly ba­sis. A house­hold of four uses on av­er­age 6,000 gal­lons a month he said.

Cur­rently the min­i­mum rate for NCWSA cus­tomers us­ing 03,000 gal­lons of wa­ter a month is $15. For ev­ery ad­di­tional 1,000 gal­lons used, $5 is tacked on to the min­i­mum rate.

While the pro­posed rates are not yet avail­able to the pub­lic, Hop­kins said the new rates would be set up in a tiered struc­ture that would charge pre-set lev­els based on the amount of wa­ter used each month. Those who fall into the high­est cat­e­gory of wa­ter us­age would pay more un­der the pro­posed rate struc­ture.

“The new rate would be de­signed to en­cour­age the high­est users to look for ways to con­serve,” Hop­kins said.

If ap­proved by the NCWSA’s board of direc­tors, the new rates could be im­ple­mented this spring. Hop­kins said the tim­ing of the in­tro­duc­tion of the new rates was aimed at giv­ing cus­tomers enough time to ad­just their con­sump­tion lev­els be­fore the typ­i­cally high-wa­ter us­age sum­mer months be­gin.

Hop­kins said mail­ings on the new wa­ter rates could go out at the end of the month if the board ap­proves the rates.

“De­spite the win­ter rains we are still at his­tor­i­cally low wa­ter lev­els around the re­gion just as we are en­ter­ing the grow­ing sea­son,” Hop­kins said. “Con­ser­va­tion rate struc- tures are be­ing adopted all across North Ge­or­gia, and our board felt it was im­por­tant to con­sider one suited to the unique needs of New­ton County.”

In­dus­tries and com­mer­cial busi­nesses will not be in­cluded in the new con­ser­va­tion rates Hop­kins said.

Hop­kins said NCWSA was not con­sid­er­ing the new rate struc­ture as a way to in­crease the Author­ity’s rev­enue but as a way to en­cour­age greater wa­ter con­ser­va­tion.

“We’re not look­ing at any in­crease [in rev­enue] to be hon­est,” Hop­kins said, “If we sell less wa­ter, we get less money.”

If there is any in­creased rev­enue from the con­ser­va­tion rates, Hop­kins said the ad­di­tional rev­enue would be used in NCWSA’s 15year $115 mil­lion cap­i­tal im­prove­ment plan.

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