Rates and Metering

Public Hearing

Any changes in rates must be approved by the DC Water Board of Directors and would take effect at the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.

On August 5, 2020, the Board of Directors held a public hearing on the proposed retail rates, charges and fees for the next two years.

You can watch a recording of the hearing by clicking on this link: Public Hearing on Proposed Retail Rates, Fees and Charges.

Town Hall Meetings

For the first time, our Town Hall Meetings with customers in all 8 wards were held remotely for the safety of participants, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The meetings were co-hosted by CEO David Gadis and the District’s eight ward councilmembers in June and July.

To see the presentation for the meeting in your ward, please visit our Town Hall Meetings page.

Under the proposed rates and fees, which were approved by the Board on September 3, 2020, the average household increase will be about 6.6% this October and 6.7% in a year. DC Water had previously estimated that these increases would be higher (8.1% in FY2021 and 6.9% in FY2022), but we refinanced some of our debt and controlled the growth of operating costs. We also plan to make withdrawals from the Rate Stabilization Fund over the next two years to benefit our customers.

The approved rate increases will allow us to: 

  • Fully fund the Clean Rivers Program; 
  • Double our investment in water and sewer infrastructure by FY 2022 to reach a one percent each year, reducing the risk of system failures; 
  • Increase funds for fleet purchases to ensure crews have the equipment they need; 
  • Invest in the Apprenticeship Program to support fifteen entry level positions; 
  • Make the Customer Assistance Program Two (CAP2) program permanent and expand Customer Assistance Program (CAP) benefits (Customers who are eligible for CAP could see their bills decrease next year); and 
  • Continue to operate the world’s largest advanced wastewater treatment plant and meet permit requirements, improving water quality and protecting our environment. 

All customers will see an increase in their bills. Customers should go to serviceinfo.dcwater.com/comparison to estimate the impact the approved rates will have on them. The approved rates continue the “shift” of Clean Rivers program costs from the impervious area charge to the volumetric rate that began this year. There is also an adjustment to the metering fee.

DC Water continues to work to increase transparency regarding its ratemaking. For more information, please see dcwater.com/ratemaking-process.

Understanding Rates

DC Water bills customers on a monthly basis. These bills include charges for both DC Water and the District of Columbia government together on the same bill. The fees collected by DC Water on behalf of the District government are passed on to the District. 

Your DC Water bill includes charges for water usage, sewer usage, customer metering, impervious area, and a water system replacement fee.

  • Water and sewer - charges for water and sewer usage billed volumetrically, meaning these charges are based upon how much water a customer uses
  • Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC) - a sewer fee that takes into account the area on a property that is impervious, meaning surface water cannot flow through, such as buildings, asphalt, or concrete.  These areas contribute to stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows. The CRIAC generates funds to cover the cost of the Clean Rivers Project, a $2.7 billion capital project mandated by the federal government.
  • Water System Replacement Fee - a fee designed to recover the costs of renewal and replacement of aging water service lines over time. The fee is based on meter size and average flow. 
  • Customer metering fee - a flat fee based on the meter size

How Rates are Set

Rates are set annually through a year-long process that begins with a budget based on capital and operating needs. Once the budget is approved by the Board of Directors, a rate structure is proposed and communicated via various news and media outlets as well as a public hearing to provide customers the opportunity to comment on the changes. Finally, the DC Water Board of Directors votes on the rate proposal in July, to be implemented in the October customer bill.