About DEP Water Rates
New York City’s water and sewer infrastructure is funded by revenue it collects through water and sewer rates. The New York City Water Board is responsible for setting these rates, and must ensure that they are able to fund the entirety of the water and sewer system’s operating and capital needs. This includes salaries and benefits for more than 6,000 City employees, as well as major initiatives like the ongoing construction of Water Tunnel No. 3, the construction of a filtration plant for the City’s Croton system and significant upgrades and repairs to treatment plants, sewers, and other water infrastructure, all of which enable the City to provide clean, safe water to New Yorkers for decades to come and ensure that the health of the City’s waterways continues to improve.
The New York City Water Board has adopted several rate policy goals in addition to revenue sufficiency. These include:
- rates should be fair and equitable to different
classes of customers and reflect the cost of providing water and wastewater
- the rate structure should encourage water
- the rate structure should provide a reasonably stable and predictable flow of revenue
What is the rate increase for Fiscal Year 2011?
For fiscal year 2011, the water and sewer rate increase will be 12.9%. For the typical single family home, this means that average annual water and sewer costs would increase from $723/year to $816/year for water and sewer bills — an additional $8/month. An average multi-family unit with metered billing will see an increase from $470/year/dwelling unit to $513/year/dwelling unit—an additional $5/month.
Detailed and historical water rate information can be found on the NYC Water Board website.
What do water rates pay for?
Water rates fund the delivery of clean drinking water and the removal of waste and storm water, including the construction, operation, and maintenance of all water infrastructure, from in-city sewers, waste water treatment plants, and water mains to dams and water quality projects in the upstate watersheds. New York City has one of the largest water and sewer systems in the world, which each day delivers high quality drinking water to more than 8 million City residents. Water rates not only fund the day-to-day operation of this system but ensure that it will continue to work for decades to come.
Why is a 12.9% rate increase necessary?
DEP recognizes that both nationally and in New York City, many residents are experiencing financial pressure, and that any increase is significant for our customers. We have worked hard to moderate the need for rate increases, both by reducing agency expenses whenever possible, and implementing more effective enforcement tools to help us collect revenue.
However, it is important to remember that, like most water utilities around the country, DEP's budget is funded by the money it collects through water and sewer rates. As DEP begins or continues several major projects over the next few years, including the ongoing construction of Water Tunnel No. 3, the Croton Water Filtration Plant in the Bronx, and major upgrades and repairs to treatment plants, sewers and other water infrastructure, budgetary needs will be great. Most of these projects are mandated by Federal or State regulators, and all will ensure that the health of the City's waterways continues to improve and that DEP continues to provide clean, safe water to New Yorkers for decades to come.
Even with this rate increase, New York City's rates are still below the national average and New Yorkers will still pay less for their water and sewer services than the residents of most other American cities.
Is there anything I can do to lower my water bill?
DEP charges water customers based on consumption, which means that varied usage and leaks can drastically affect quarterly bills. Catching leaks before they become problematic can save you hundreds of dollars a year in water and sewer bills. DEP's new Automated Meter Reading (AMR) allows customers to view their water consummption in realtime, and helps in detecting ptoential problems with leaks.
If you are a homeowner, check your plumbing fixtures to ensure they are working properly and not wasting water. For a free, comprehensive leak audit, call (718) 326-9426.
Are there any financial assistance programs available to water and sewer customers?
Yes. For information on programs available to water and sewer customers visit our Customer Assistance Programs page.