Seattle water rates remain steady with $28M stabilization fund due to drought

Seattle Public Utilities has announced that there are no plans at this time to raise drinking water rates given that conservation efforts, prompted by a statewide drought, could cause a decline in utility revenues.

SEATTLE, WA, May 15, 2015 -- Today, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) announced that there are no plans at this time to raise drinking water rates given that conservation efforts, prompted by a statewide drought, could cause a decline in utility revenues.

Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council adopted a two-year plan that holds water rate increases to 1.7 percent for 2016 and 2.7 percent for 2017. SPU Director Ray Hoffman noted that unless there is a significant drop in water usage, that rate plan will not change.

"Unlike much of the rest of the state, Seattle has been able to hold lots water in our mountain reservoirs, and we have told our customers they can expect a normal water summer," Hoffman said.

"As always, we are asking people to use water wisely," he continued, "but even if our revenues decline dramatically as a result of conservation efforts, the rates adopted for the next two years are protected by a $28-million contingency fund designed to bring predictability and stability to water bills."

Seattleites already use less water than most cities in the country. In the unlikely event of a large decline in water usage, SPU's first action would be to tap into its rate stabilization fund. Beyond that, options for meeting that long-term fixed revenue requirement could include canceling capital improvement projects or raising rates.

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