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DC Water's Board Approves New Rates With Eye Towards Increasing Affordability

September 18, 2018

New rates and fees for District water customers go into effect next month, as DC Water takes unprecedented steps to ask customers for input on future rate changes and minimize the impact of current increases.
The DC Water Board of Directors adopted the rates earlier this year and they go into effect beginning October 1. Customers will notice the changes on the next cycle of bills that will be mailed in October.
Revenue raised by the rates goes to investments in DC Water infrastructure and maintenance, while the separate charges for the Clean Rivers Project goes towards meeting the legal requirements of preventing sewage and polluted stormwater from discharging into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers.
“We reviewed this budget carefully and are well aware of the impact water rates have on our customers,” said David L. Gadis, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of DC Water. “Our intention is to budget at a level that accounts for the most essential needs of the Authority and not a penny more.”
The new rates for water customers comes at a time when DC Water and District government leaders partnered on a new program to provide $13 million in assistance in the coming year. Those funds will go to customers and non-profits who are struggling with the cost of their water bills and fees.
Additionally, DC Water this summer created a tool to assist customers who want clarity on how their impervious area is calculated and what steps they can take to lower their bills by reducing surface area. More details on that program will be announced soon.
Moreover, DC Water has in recent years expanded its existing Customer Assistance Program, or CAP, which already provides low income customers with a 58 percent discount on their water and sewer bills, waives their entire Water System Replacement Fee and gives them a full 50 percent discount on their Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge.
More recently, Mr. Gadis has promised to empower a broad coalition of District residents, businesses and non-profits to review a range of DC Water issues and put forward ideas that could help customers save money. More information on that initiative will be announced later this month.
“We know water rates impact everyone in the District, especially lower income residents and some non-profits. DC Water and the District Government are working together to help mitigate that impact with additional relief, while continuing to maintain a high quality water utility,” said DC Water Board Chair Tommy Wells.
Under the new rate structure, average residential customer charges would be $108.32 a month in 2019, up from $102.30 a month in 2018 for a 5.9 percent increase. The average customer bill would increase to $114.48 a month in 2020. The Clean Rivers surcharge would decline from $25.18 a month to $23 in 2019 and then increase to $25.58 in 2020.

A full table with the new rates and fees can be found at