View Full Version : Water rates to increase in Oklahoma City



Larry OKC
09-29-2010, 12:36 AM
http://www.newsok.com/water-rates-to-increase-in-oklahoma-city/article/3499483?custom_click=headlines_widget

Water rates to increase in Oklahoma City
The average monthly water bill in Oklahoma City will go up $5 by 2013. (Oklahoman, 9/29/10)


Water rates in Oklahoma City will go up each October for four years, increasing from the current average bill of $42.63 a month to $47.52 a month in 2013.
The city council approved the increase Tuesday, with the first hike to appear on next month's bills. ...

Question is, is this to pay for the $15M we are overpaying (more than what was owed) on the Sardis water deal? Does this pay for the pipeline that is going to have to be built alongside the existing pipeline (not sure of the proposed cost but wouldn't be surprised if is multi-million)? Or, are we going to be hit with the cost of all of that in a couple of years...

I watched Tuesdays Council meeting and didn't catch that they were voting on the increase (thought this was the second round of public hearing). Is it a done deal as the article indicated?

MustangGT
09-29-2010, 08:06 AM
All very good quesions.

BBatesokc
09-29-2010, 08:19 AM
What I don't understand is why our water bill is always right at $60/month and its just the wife and I. We have those 5gallon refillable water bottles for drinking, don't take long showers and rarely water the lawn. I do water the flowers and garden about every other day (45 minutes).

Larry OKC
09-29-2010, 09:01 PM
Someone who gets a water bill may be able to answer more fully (mine is included as part of the rent), but it is my understanding from what was mentioned during the council meeting, there is a "basic" flat fee charged just for being connected to the City line (doesn't matter if you use any water or not) then there is water usage which is where the bill could vary from month to month.

Larry OKC
09-30-2010, 01:12 AM
[FONT="Arial"]WOW, the Sardis pipeline cost is even higher than I thought...

http://dailyme.com/story/2010092700003335/edmond-city-council-vote-water-plan.html

Edmond City Council to vote on water plan (Edmond Sun, 9/27/10)


Delivering the water with a pipeline and pump station to the metro by 2020 would cost the Oklahoma municipalities about $1 billion ...

(Edmond's) total share in the overall $2.4 billion Sardis project is $267 million .... No construction is proposed for the project until 2015.

flintysooner
09-30-2010, 06:00 AM
As someone way too familiar with owning his own wells and pumps and related accessories I can assure you that the cost of municipality supplied water is a tremendous bargain.

kevinpate
09-30-2010, 07:37 AM
What I don't understand is why our water bill is always right at $60/month and its just the wife and I. We have those 5gallon refillable water bottles for drinking, don't take long showers and rarely water the lawn. I do water the flowers and garden about every other day (45 minutes).

Though I am in Norman and thus it's a different system, our pricing is similar. Ours is the basic combo for water, trash container w/ weekly pickup and occasional special pickups, and sewer. We tend to fall below 60 monthly, but not by a lot. We rarely water. The lawn and such grow well, too well actually, without us encouraging more growth.

flintysooner
09-30-2010, 08:29 AM
And lest it be overlooked for its commonplace and vulgar qualities I might add that someone taking care of your trash for you is also a bargain.

windowphobe
09-30-2010, 05:19 PM
The old rate (in-city, residential) was a flat fee of $7.37 plus $2.15 per thousand gallons.

Of course, what we think of as the "water bill" includes sewer service, trash service, a "drainage fee" to cover stormwater handling, and (for some) a subscription to EMSA. Mine generally runs around $50.

bombermwc
10-04-2010, 06:44 AM
I don't really get why they are doing this whole sardis thing isntead of finishing Draper with the Elm Creek section. They've been keeping the residential numbers low out there to be ready for it, so why not go for it instaed of having to bring water in from far away? I just dont get it.

Wambo36
10-04-2010, 07:45 AM
Actually most of the water in Draper is pumped in from Atoka through a pipeline. To fill Elm Creek would probably take the same thing.

bombermwc
10-06-2010, 06:39 AM
I guess I still don't understand why they don't just do that. If there is a pipeline already in place, just start filling Elm Creek when they start refilling Draper. Seems like it's a natural progression rather then having to construct a new line. Maybe I'm missing something....

Wambo36
10-06-2010, 07:46 AM
If I understand correctly what they're doing, they are going to build a pipeline from Sardis to connect to the Atoka pipeline. I might be mistaken, but I don't think they are building a complete new pipeline to OKC. The reason it's needed is because they are barred from drawing the lake down below a certain level and therefore, to meet the expected water needs of the future, were looking for more capacity. The only way to do this, without drawing Atoka down too far, is to expand the reach to another body of water. Sardis was available at a relatively bargain price due to the state forfieting on the loan from the Corp of Engineers to build Sardis. Sort of like the county selling off tax forfieted property. The Corp has been trying to get their money back, since the state quit making payments in 1997, and the city was the one to step up and pay it.

The more interesting aspect of the deal is that everyone from the indian tribes to the state legislators from the SE part of the state are now crying fowl. They're claiming they should have the rights to the water. Funny thing, this loan forfieture has been going on for 13 years and none of them have offered to pay it.

BG918
10-06-2010, 07:54 AM
Sardis is a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. I've been camping around there.
http://www.landbigfish.com/images/fishingspots/OK-Sardis2.jpg

Wambo36
10-06-2010, 08:12 AM
It is one of the more scenic parts of the state. And the fishing on Sardis is very good. We used to fish tournaments there quite often.

Larry OKC
10-06-2010, 10:32 PM
If I understand correctly what they're doing, they are going to build a pipeline from Sardis to connect to the Atoka pipeline. I might be mistaken, but I don't think they are building a complete new pipeline to OKC. The reason it's needed is because they are barred from drawing the lake down below a certain level and therefore, to meet the expected water needs of the future, were looking for more capacity. The only way to do this, without drawing Atoka down too far, is to expand the reach to another body of water. ...

The articles I've read indicated that a new pipeline is needed (instead of an extension/tapping into the existing pipeline) due to capacity issues (Atoka pipeline can't carry the volume of water needed). Since the cost is in excess of $2 BILLION, there sure better be a brand new pipeline!

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just build a new lake here??

bombermwc
10-07-2010, 06:34 AM
That's what I was thinking with Elm Creek. it's been mapped out for years. Heck, look at the Moore Public schools district map and they have even had it on there for years.

Plutonic Panda
08-13-2014, 03:02 PM
Oklahoma City Council sets public hearing on water rate increases | News OK (http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-council-sets-public-hearing-on-water-rate-increases/article/5171260)

gopokes88
08-13-2014, 03:24 PM
Kerry Decker Follow Top Commenter University of Miami
This situation sums government up in a nut shell. Instead of fixing the problem with a simple free market-based solution they want to just throw money at the problem and make things more expensive for everyone. All they need to do is stop allowing new yards over 2,000 sq. feet. This won't impact existing home owners since they already have large yards and if new people to the area want a large yard they can buy one of the existing homes in the city which will help existing subdivisions get some much need reinvestment and upkeep. Instead of pricing current residents out of the market just keep new home owners from making the problem worse.

This is the problem with public hearings. Those are 2 are in 100% conflict with each other, and he clearly has no clue what a free market solution would be. Hint: free markets typically don't force change through government regulations, it let's consumer behavior dictate what happens.

A free market solution would be selling off the water to a private company and then the private company adjusts water rates based on supply and demand. So hot dry summers when water supplies are tight water is expensive and cool mild wet summers (like this one) water would be cheap. I don't see many people in favor of that.

Zuplar
08-13-2014, 03:28 PM
The water isn't what I'm so concerned with, more like the trash. My water is $10 give or take, but the trash is $20. I don't have sewer out here, then there are some miscellaneous fees, so my bill is around $46 to $51.

Plutonic Panda
08-13-2014, 03:29 PM
new yards should be 20,000 sq. feet if the builder desires it to be. Funny how controlling some want to be on literally everything.

windowphobe
08-13-2014, 05:21 PM
What I want most out of the new rates is a tiered structure that says the guy who uses 50,000 gallons a month pays more than ten times as much as the guy who gets by on 5,000.

(My yard is 7200 square feet, if anyone cares.)

betts
08-13-2014, 05:40 PM
What I want most out of the new rates is a tiered structure that says the guy who uses 50,000 gallons a month pays more than ten times as much as the guy who gets by on 5,000.

(My yard is 7200 square feet, if anyone cares.)

That makes the most sense to me. Prices increase as your usage increases. If you want it, pay through the nose for it. The market will then favor houses with smaller lots. Maybe we could get a few more skinny house neighborhoods. I was just in Chicago and love all their 25' lots with a garage on the alley and small backyard. My daughter's yard is just perfect in size.

Plutonic Panda
08-13-2014, 05:43 PM
That makes the most sense to me. Prices increase as your usage increases. If you want it, pay through the nose for it. The market will then favor houses with smaller lots. Maybe we could get a few more skinny house neighborhoods. I was just in Chicago and love all their 25' lots with a garage on the alley and small backyard. My daughter's yard is just perfect in size.
So you want to try and force people to live on smaller lots. Gotcha

mkjeeves
08-13-2014, 05:56 PM
I want to know exactly what the 2.1 billion is going to be spent on. They can't collect what they don't spend and put the excess somewhere else unrelated. A story from last year I found says the new pipe to SE Oklahoma is around 1 billion.

http://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/2013/08/12/okcs-tab-for-tapping-sardis-water-could-be-1-billion/

venture
08-13-2014, 07:36 PM
So you want to try and force people to live on smaller lots. Gotcha

Who is forcing people? I don't have a 10,000 sq ft house because I couldn't afford the utilities and property taxes. I have a nice house and yard that is with in my means. If someone wants to have a huge yard that uses a lot of water, why shouldn't they pay more? They could also just get a well if they don't like it. Maybe a better solution would be to steal an idea from OG&E and the SmartHours thing, but have it be seasonal and based on drought conditions and water supply. I would think it also needs to be combined with dual meters (one for inside use and the other for outside). If people opt for the two meters, then their inside usage is exempt from the season rate adjustments.

Zuplar
08-13-2014, 08:58 PM
For what it's worth I have over an acre and only ever hand water trees a such. If we get a
Moderate amount of rain my yard still looks great due to properly taking care of it. I think the big problem is people straight up are wasteful.

Plutonic Panda
08-13-2014, 10:12 PM
Who is forcing people? I don't have a 10,000 sq ft house because I couldn't afford the utilities and property taxes. I have a nice house and yard that is with in my means. If someone wants to have a huge yard that uses a lot of water, why shouldn't they pay more? They could also just get a well if they don't like it. Maybe a better solution would be to steal an idea from OG&E and the SmartHours thing, but have it be seasonal and based on drought conditions and water supply. I would think it also needs to be combined with dual meters (one for inside use and the other for outside). If people opt for the two meters, then their inside usage is exempt from the season rate adjustments.

Venture, I agree with you. I have become very conservative of my water usage and even shelled out some good money that I earned to place a rain barrel system under my deck and this isn't even my house, it's my fathers. I'm moving into my own place at the end of this month finally, but still. I also plan to do major upgrades to insure I save as much water as possible.

But when you make a statement like this "The market will then favor houses with smaller lots.", that tells me you want to manipulate the market and shows that if you could, you would want to prevent people from owning large yards.

I do not believe in that. You let the city handle it and make it fair. It's already been stated on here that lawn watering makes up a minuscule amount of the overall national water usage.

For your comment of them paying more, they already are. Perhaps I'm wrong here, but don't you have to pay more property taxes the bigger you lot size is?

The amount of water waste I see in Edmond is beyond sickening. The whole goddamn city becomes a city with rivers flowing down its streets at night whether it is raining or not. I have been meaning to film it, but need a better camera. My neighborhood alone has multiple heads that just shoot up into the air and I have even replaced those head with my own money but they keep getting broken and I can't afford to continue doing that.

ljbab728
08-13-2014, 10:27 PM
[QUOTE=Plutonic Panda;820101]Venture, I agree with you. I have become very conservative of my water usage and even shelled out some good money that I earned to place a rain barrel system under my deck and this isn't even my house, it's my fathers. I'm moving into my own place at the end of this month finally, but still. I also plan to do major upgrades to insure I save as much water as possible.
[QUOTE]

Giving up on your move to Cali, plupan?

Plutonic Panda
08-13-2014, 10:37 PM
[QUOTE=Plutonic Panda;820101]Venture, I agree with you. I have become very conservative of my water usage and even shelled out some good money that I earned to place a rain barrel system under my deck and this isn't even my house, it's my fathers. I'm moving into my own place at the end of this month finally, but still. I also plan to do major upgrades to insure I save as much water as possible.
[QUOTE]

Giving up on your move to Cali, plupan?No... me and my father are not on good terms right now. I want to get out of this house for a little while. I am taking one more semester at OCCC for Intro to Theater and moving to West Hollywood in January. If this house doesn't work out near UCO.. I am moving to Deep Deuce until January.

td25er
08-14-2014, 11:23 AM
Death to everybody that wants a nice yard for their children to play in!!!!

onthestrip
08-14-2014, 02:24 PM
So you want to try and force people to live on smaller lots. Gotcha

I dont think its that. If one family wants a big yard and pool, they will pay a little more than the one family that has a small yard and no pool. Everyone will pay the same amount up to a certain point, then if you go over, you pay a little higher rate, and so on. Just like income taxes, everyone pays the same amount, until they go over and then start paying more on what the added income. Its definitely the wise and fair way to pay for what is a limited resource.

Plutonic Panda
08-14-2014, 08:22 PM
OKC Discussing Water Rate Increase - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports | (http://www.news9.com/story/26285746/okc-discussing-water-rate-increase)

jn1780
08-15-2014, 06:18 AM
For what it's worth I have over an acre and only ever hand water trees a such. If we get a
Moderate amount of rain my yard still looks great due to properly taking care of it. I think the big problem is people straight up are wasteful.

What?, but there's no golf course in your front yard though. lol

Zuplar
08-15-2014, 07:11 AM
What?, but there's no golf course in your front yard though. lol

I have one of the nicer front yards in the neighborhood. Biggest difference, I cut my grass higher and more often. My neighbor has a sprinkler system and waters every 2 days, but cuts his way lower than mine and his yard looks bad compared to mine. Even this time of year I have dark green grass. By keeping it properly fertilized and cut higher, the ground stays moist longer meaning I water way less and still maintain a nice yard.

catch22
08-15-2014, 10:34 PM
My neighbor floods the street every night. Glad the concrete gets a chance to cool down on these warm summer nights.

I really dislike the use of automatic sprinklers.

BBatesokc
08-16-2014, 03:55 AM
...I really dislike the use of automatic sprinklers.

Why? It would only make sense that a properly utilized automatic sprinkler system would be an extremely efficient use of water. The only downside I see to them are the operators who set them to overwater or otherwise do not properly maintain them (leaking heads, etc.).

kevinpate
08-16-2014, 06:59 AM
well, automatic sprinklers do fire off on schedule, even if the schedule triggers the on switch right before, in the middle of, or right after a frog strangler passes through the area.

kevinpate
08-16-2014, 07:08 AM
... have it be seasonal and based on drought conditions and water supply. I would think it also needs to be combined with dual meters (one for inside use and the other for outside). If people opt for the two meters, then their inside usage is exempt from the season rate adjustments.

Although, as soon as one exempts inside usage, folks slap an attachment to an inside faucet, snap on the hose and run the hose out the window to a wide coverage sprinkler device. Having drained and filled a waterbed numerous times over three decades, I'm aware it takes about six seconds, on a hand hurting slow day, to hook a hose to a household sink.

BBatesokc
08-16-2014, 07:45 AM
well, automatic sprinklers do fire off on schedule, even if the schedule triggers the on switch right before, in the middle of, or right after a frog strangler passes through the area.

Again, that's an operator issue. Takes two seconds to hit the 'off' button. Additionally, models like mine know when its raining or when the ground is saturated and will not come on.

Hand watering is very inefficient in many/most cases and I can't tell you how many times I've seen a neighbor with a hose sprinkler left on for an hour and the water is running down the street.

I measured the output of my sprinklers when we moved..... Place small containers of the same size within the sprinkler head pattern. Run the sprinkler for 15 minutes and then measure the water level in each container and divide by the number of containers. That gives you an average output for that head. Based on that output you can correctly set how long that zone should be watering. Since your heads are consistent in location and output, this would be far more efficient than hand watering or a hose based sprinkler IMO.

kevinpate
08-16-2014, 04:04 PM
I don't disagree Brian. However, I suspect it is not terribly unfair of me to presume you expended more thought and effort in this one explanation than the total level of thought huge numbers of automatic sprinkler owners have collectively put into their systems.

That it is silly operator error doesn't mean all that much when operators are too silly to even ponder if there might be a better way than use the Ronco method of set it and forget it.

Servicetech571
08-24-2014, 03:19 PM
The free market solution is to charge more for the water and less in monthly fixed taxes/fees. Water bill is $50 before you even turn a tap on, ridiculous...

LakeEffect
08-24-2014, 06:20 PM
The free market solution is to charge more for the water and less in monthly fixed taxes/fees. Water bill is $50 before you even turn a tap on, ridiculous...

The fixed "fees" that result in the $50 minimum are not all related to water, the largest cost is your solid waste service. Also, the fixed costs we pay for our actual water service reflect the cost of capital required to bring water to your door. The variable cost you pay is minimal because it simply charges for the cost of treatment. That's the "free market" solution at work.

mkjeeves
08-24-2014, 07:53 PM
The fixed "fees" that result in the $50 minimum are not all related to water, the largest cost is your solid waste service. Also, the fixed costs we pay for our actual water service reflect the cost of capital required to bring water to your door. The variable cost you pay is minimal because it simply charges for the cost of treatment. That's the "free market" solution at work.

That may or may not be true now but it won't be true with the proposed rate increase. The variable will be increased and on a sliding scale where the more you use the more you pay, all to fund 2 billion in capital improvements.

You can skip to 5:22 in the video and see a chart of the proposed increase over the next few years from the current 2.65 per thousand gallons.

http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-council-sets-public-hearing-on-water-rate-increases/article/5171260

LakeEffect
08-25-2014, 05:31 AM
That may or may not be true now but it won't be true with the proposed rate increase. The variable will be increased and on a sliding scale where the more you use the more you pay, all to fund 2 billion in capital improvements.

You can skip to 5:22 in the video and see a chart of the proposed increase over the next few years from the current 2.65 per thousand gallons.

Oklahoma City Council sets public hearing on water rate increases | News OK (http://newsok.com/oklahoma-city-council-sets-public-hearing-on-water-rate-increases/article/5171260)

It will still be true - the variable cost applied will reflect that it costs more to treat more water for a big user (pipelines, reservoirs, etc.). The current flat rate structure minimizes that effect. I'm used to seeing the proposed charge format, many, many cities implemented this long ago.

mkjeeves
08-25-2014, 08:45 AM
It will still be true - the variable cost applied will reflect that it costs more to treat more water for a big user (pipelines, reservoirs, etc.). The current flat rate structure minimizes that effect. I'm used to seeing the proposed charge format, many, many cities implemented this long ago.

Your statements conflict with each other, and conflict with reality. Pipelines, reservoirs are capital improvements. You said first:
Also, the fixed costs we pay for our actual water service reflect the cost of capital required to bring water to your door.

Then you said:
the variable cost applied will reflect that it costs more to treat more water for a big user (pipelines, reservoirs, etc.). A pipeline is not water treatment. It's infrastructure to deliver water. The tax increase is being done primarily so the city can continue to grow over the next few decades. The funds for making those improvements are being collected by increasing the cost per gallon to almost everyone, weighted to heavy users. They are not increasing the fixed portion of the bill to cover these capital improvements, the subject of the original discussion of how the bill is structured.

With this increase, we're paying forward for future growth, not to supply our current water use levels. But someone did that for us in the past to build the reservoirs and pipelines we have now. Overholser was built in 1919. Hefner was built in 1947. Atoka in 1959 Etc. The story has always been make improvements so we can grow in the future. Cite: https://www.okc.gov/waterrights/history.html

Clown puncher
08-31-2014, 12:43 PM
I water three times a week five zones @ 20 mins apiece and my water bill is the highest utility bill I have. I have check the bill against the meter , I don't have leaking toilets or anything that I can find that is wrong. I just can't figure out why it is so high.

RadicalModerate
08-31-2014, 01:36 PM
"Water Rates to Increase" . . . Dang. sounds like a supply and demand deal t' me . . . Sure glad I still ain't a-wastin' water on a pet lawn. The ducks down at what's left of the gardenpark next to the Crystal Bridge are probably grateful . . . However . . . I hear the herbs out back crying for some relief . . . gotta go water . . .

kevinpate
08-31-2014, 02:06 PM
I water three times a week five zones @ 20 mins apiece and my water bill is the highest utility bill I have. I have check the bill against the meter , I don't have leaking toilets or anything that I can find that is wrong. I just can't figure out why it is so high.

You have ruled out leaks. You don't suggest your use includes lengthy daily or more frequent showers as a norm in a multi-person household. 5 zones at 20 minutes each is 1.5 hours, thrice weekly, for a total of 4.5 hours of watering. That's a lot of watering, or seems to be to me anyway.

Plutonic Panda
08-31-2014, 11:45 PM
I water three times a week five zones @ 20 mins apiece and my water bill is the highest utility bill I have. I have check the bill against the meter , I don't have leaking toilets or anything that I can find that is wrong. I just can't figure out why it is so high.
gaaa.. Garin?

JIMBO
09-01-2014, 10:11 AM
You have ruled out leaks. You don't suggest your use includes lengthy daily or more frequent showers as a norm in a multi-person household. 5 zones at 20 minutes each is 1.5 hours, thrice weekly, for a total of 4.5 hours of watering. That's a lot of watering, or seems to be to me anyway.

Kevin
Your math is off.
3 times/week times 5 zones = 15 zones/week
15 zones times 20 minutes = 300 minutes/week (5 hours)
300 minutes/week times 4.33 weeks/month = 1300 minutes/month
1300 minutes/month times 10 gallon/minute flow rate = 13,000 gallon/month (estimated flow rate)
13,000 plus domestic needs = large water bill

kevinpate
09-01-2014, 11:55 AM
Well, slap me silly.

Note to self: never ever do math shortly before nap time.

Note II: probably a real good idea to review anew yesterday's work on checking accounts sometime after today's nap time.

Servicetech571
10-05-2014, 04:04 PM
You would think if OKC was REALLY interested in conservation they would have tied all the rate increases to use instead of splitting it with fixed meter fees. My last month's bill for 4,000 gallons was $66, cutting my use in HALF would only reduce it to $61.

Looking at the rate increase chart in 2016 my bill will go up about $1 based on USE and $3 in fixed meter fees. Why no put the full $4 in use costs and ZERO in increased meter fees? Even at $2.89 per 1,000 gallons there is little financial incentive to conserve.

Way to go OKC on **encouraging water conservation**.