Friday, August 27, 2010

Hailey water conservation efforts working

July consumption drops 28 percent in 3 years

Express Staff Writer

The base monthly water rate in Hailey will drop in the coming year, but high-volume water users will have to pay big for soaking their lawns.

The city went to metered watering several years ago and a tiered pay structure last year that increases water rates quickly for those who use more than 60,000 gallons per month.

Hailey residents are only allowed to water lawns every other day.

The combined effect of these measures has led to water conservation in Hailey.

In July 2007, residents used 170 million gallons of water. By July 2010, that figure dropped 28 percent to 123 million gallons.

"The council approved higher rates for very high-end users to encourage conservation," said Public Works Director Tom Hellen. "If you use over 60,000 gallons per month, the jump gets pretty big. That should be enough water to water the majority of lots in Hailey."

The City Council voted Monday to drop the base monthly rate for sewer services from $12.12 to $10.52, but the cost for new hook-ups will increase from $3,127 to $3,279.

The base rate for water service will decrease from $10.15 to $8.79 per month, but new hook-up fees will increase from $3,693 to $3,817.

The hook-up-fee increases are the result of a standard inflation rate increase, Hellen said.

Sewer rates will increase by about 50 cents per month for those using 6,000 gallons per month, but those using less than 5,000 gallons will benefit from a decrease.

The city saw an expected increase in revenue from watering lawns in excess of 60,000 gallons per month due to the tiered rate structure, which began last fall. Hellen said that could change next month after people see their water bills.

Tony Evans:

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