Basalt water rates are going up |

Basalt water rates are going up

For the second year in a row, Basalt is trying to coax water conservation by hitting the biggest consumers where it hurts.

New water rates went into effect yesterday. While the rate increased for all consumers, those who use 55,000 gallons and more in the second quarter of the year will be hit hardest.

“This phase of the increase will have a significant impact on our citizens’ water bills without proper water conservation practices,” town pubic services manager Bob Gish wrote recently to the Town Council. He tried to brace the board for some complaints.

Gish wrote that a letter was being sent to all water customers who consumed 55,000 gallons or more during the second quarter of last year. In addition, four-color brochures explaining Basalt’s billing philosophy were also produced. Bills for the first quarter warned customers about the increases.

“Regardless of all of our efforts to communicate the increase, the town expects to receive calls,” he wrote.

That’s because water rates are going up as much as 170 percent for the biggest consumers. Consumers of more than 111,600 gallons will experience a jump from $2.20 to $6 per 1,000 gallons.

Users of between 54,900 and 111,600 gallons will see their rates jump from $1.60 to $4.60 per 1,000 gallons.

More modest increases are on tap for consumers of smaller amounts. The cost for users of up to 27,000 gallons for the quarter is increasing from 90 cents to $1.15 per 1,000 gallons.

The cost for users of between 27,000 and 54,900 gallons will jump from $1.30 to $2 per gallon.

“The tiered rate structure is designed to encourage water conservation,” said a letter to the town’s 241 biggest water consumers.

That letter said the first tier in the rate structure is geared toward standard water use of a household. The second tier added use for “normal irrigation practices.”

The third tier is a level that could use some attention for conservation, and the fourth tier signifies use that is “well in excess of efficient watering practices.”

The higher water rates will be reflected in the July 2002 bills.

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