A public hearing is planned Tuesday, Jan. 5, to establish a groundwater resource acquisition and development fee in the Town of Marana.
Revenues from that proposed 30-cents-per-1,000 gallon fee would be used to "isolate and pay for all the costs of water resource acquisition," town water rate consultant Dan Jackson of Economists.com told the town council in early December. He has recommended the fee increase to 40 cents per 1,000 gallons in 2011.
"There's a cost to having access to good, clean, quality water," Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said. "We are creating transparency in our fee structure, so our water customers will clearly see how much it costs to acquire these water resources."
The Marana Town Council is also being asked to waive its credit on the first 1,000 gallons of water used by customers each month. Currently, Marana does not charge for the first 1,000 gallons consumed. If adopted, that volume would cost $2.46 per month.
Rates per 1,000 gallons would increase for multi-family, commercial, industrial, government and irrigation users from $2.86 to $3.03 per 1,000 gallons. Rates for residential consumption would go from $2.32 to $2.46 per 1,000 gallons up to 10,000 gallons a month, with higher incremental increases for consumption over 10,000 gallons. The average residential consumer uses about 7,000 gallons of water a month.
"Most residential rate payers will experience a $3 to $5 increase in their monthly bills in 2010," Jackson said.
Other communities in Arizona charge consumers for groundwater resource acquisition and development. Oro Valley, for example, has a 75-cent per 1,000 gallon charge, Jackson said.
Marana has groundwater recharge obligations it must meet, Davidson said.
"Every gallon we pull, we have to put a gallon in," Davidson said. "There's a cost to that."
"Water resource acquisition and development costs are the primary reasons for rate adjustments," Jackson Said.
If approved, changes in the rate structure would take effect Feb. 5.
A Town of Marana water rate adjustment would:
• Implement a first-ever, 30 cents per 1,000-gallon water acquisition and development fee;
• Waive an existing 1,000-gallon credit for all users. Most ratepayers would see a $3 to $5 monthly increase on their bills, a consultant said.