Water Rate Hikes – Can you Save on your Water Bills?

August 9, 2017

Water is an essential part of everyone’s life and as a result, their budget. We simply cannot live without using it. So why is it that we all pay a different amount for the same resource? There are several components that come into place in order to have a readily available stream of water at the flip of a switch.

Every town, city and community has different rate structures based on their location, water sources and maintenance costs. Some areas charge a fixed rate while others charge by the actual amount of water used.  In Illinois, those who live in an area that utilizes well water will typically pay less than those getting water from Lake Michigan that needs to be transferred via piping infrastructure. In addition, the water system of the community itself can play a major part in determining the cost and quality of their water. Those communities who have older water systems are faced with more upkeep and reduced efficiency, so the prices reflect that.

In Illinois, annual water rate hikes are becoming the norm. Naperville has recently proposed a new water rate increase that will result in residents paying at least 3% more for water per year. This increase is due to the area’s utility budget and required upgrades to their water systems.

In Skokie, residents are faced with a similar situation. The Skokie Village Board just approved a water hike of over 8% said to be a result of the $3.9 million in anticipated water infrastructure improvements. Skokie receives their water from Evanston, who recently also implemented a local water rate hike. Both Evanston and Skokie are getting their water from Lake Michigan.

Prospect Heights, Illinois found their locals displeased with the idea of extra taxes and charges that would be put on their water bills as a result of the infrastructure requirements to get water from Lake Michigan. Although their water supply is reliable, the maintenance costs associated with their old systems is steadily rising and forcing an increase on the resident’s utility bills.

The city of Chicago has also recently approved a water tax increase in order to help pay back the municipal employees pension fund, which is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Even with this tax increase, the city of Chicago’s water rates are still lower than many surrounding areas such as Oak Park and Berwyn.

So this brings us to an important question, can you do anything to save on your water bills?

Unfortunately, these water hikes will most likely continue throughout the state and country. As pipes age, the maintenance requirements increase. Old pipes are more prone to water main breaks that can cause sediment and other deposits to get into the water after it has been treated. For those Illinois communities thinking about switching from local well sources to a Lake Michigan supply, it will cost them millions of dollars to connect into those systems.

As a renter, there is not much you can do about your local water rate hikes. Maintenance can’t be avoided, so at some point you will likely see your bills increase. If you are a homeowner, apartment or multi-family building owner, there are several things you can do to make your water systems more efficient and sustainable. By upgrading your properties’ water system and improving efficiency, you will conserve water and increase NOI along with property valuation. You can work to design an efficiency platform that will ultimately pay for itself while improving your infrastructure.

DRF Water Heating Solutions, the experts you can trust for all your water heating, plumbing and boiler needs, are here to help multi-family properties reduce consumption and water costs. It all starts with our level 1 water assessment to identify opportunities to lower your costs. Contact us today to set up your initial water assessment with one of our experts.