Your DC Water bill at work

New Rates Begining October 1, 2015

It is our privilege to provide you with safe, reliable tap water and treat it on your behalf once it has been used. Your water and sewer bills not only fund the operation and maintenance of our system, but also the repair and replacement of critical infrastructure needed to provide high quality water and sewer services and to minimize service disruptions to our customers.

The median age of water pipes in the District of Columbia is 79 years. This means half of the 1,300 miles of pipe under the streets was installed before 1936. For many years, customers did not pay for the maintenance of this system. Now, as our pipes begin to pass their life expectancy, DC Water is aggressively working to upgrade the system.


Beginning on October 1, 2015, DC Water is separating the cost of replacing aging pipes from general consumption charges. DC Water studied other utilities nationwide to find the best way to pay for this additional investment. We found that the most equitable solution is a fixed fee based on the amount of access to the water system a property needs. The new "Water System Replacement Fee," which is based on the size of your water meter, will ensure there is a stable, dedicated funding source to replace our aging water system. Even with the Water System Replacement Fee, it will take 100 years to replace all of the water pipes in our system. Customers enrolled in the Customer Assistance Program (CAP) will not pay the fee.


Currently, DC Water charges all of its customers the same rates for water and sewer services. Going forward, we have established a new rate structure that is designed to better allocate system costs across our three customer classes (Residential, Multi-Family, and Non- Residential). This means each customer class will have their own water rate, but there will continue to be a uniform rate for sewer services.

These two changes in our bill will allow us to hold water rates steady for many of our customers. In addition, for the first time, DC Water is offering residential customers a Lifeline Rate as an incentive to conserve water and reduce your monthly bills. The Lifeline Rate steeply discounts the first 4 Ccfs of water consumption (approximately 3,000 gallons). We also continue to offer a Customer Assistance Program that provides eligible low-income customers with a discount on their water and sewer bills.


When comparing DC Water to other critical services that District residents need to survive and thrive, DC Water is truly a value. According to 2014 data, a monthly water and sewer bill in the District is still lower than a household's cell phone bill, electric bill or wintertime gas bill.


Rates are rising across the country. We recognize the burden that rising rates are placing on customers and we are working to decrease costs. When compared to other cities with similar environmental mandates, DC Water's charges are lower than the average.

The fastest growing line on your bill is the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge (IAC). For the average residential customer, the IAC will increase by 21% in FY 2016. This charge funds an incredibly important program - mandated by the federal government under the Clean Water Act- to help clean up our local waterways. The Clean Rivers Project is building massive underground tunnels to store combined stormwater and sewage during heavy rains and carry it down to Blue Plains for treatment instead of being diverted into the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Rock Creek.

  1. Identify and fix leaky faucets, showerheads and toilets. A leaking toilet can cost up to $400/month.
  2. Use water more efficiently. Shortening daily showers by 5 minutes can save a family of four about $15 each month.
  3. Install water-saving fixtures, like low-flow toilets or rain barrels. A water-efficient showerhead can save the average family $300 per year, and it pays for itself in a few months.

For more information on our new rate and fee structure click here.