How are water and sewer rates determined?

Your utility bill is calculated using two different rates: one for water service and one for sewer service. The amount you owe for water is calculated using a base rate (a set amount charged to every account each month) and a volume rate which changes based on how much water you use. Similarly, your sewer charge is calculated using a separate base and volume rate. 

Water utility rates are determined through a rate study conducted by a consultant who specializes in helping entities (like cities) determine the water and sewer rates that need to be charged to cover the cost of running the water and sewer system.

The City provides the consultant with the following information:

  • Cost to operate and maintain the water and sewer system
  • Cost to pay principal and interest on debt payments
  • Cost to repair/replace/rehab the water sewer infrastructure, including the pump station, water towers, lift stations, and water and sewer lines
  • Data concerning the total amount of water requested from Dallas Water Utilities, or DWU (the City buys water from DWU)
  • Data concerning the wastewater flow sent to Trinity River Authority, or TRA (the City partners with TRA for wastewater services)
  • Usage data by account by month for several years

Based on this information, a base rate is set for water – and a separate base rate is set for sewer – as well as volume rates for each. 

Each customer pays a base rate that is determined by the size of the meter. Approximately 96% of our residential customers have a 5/8-inch meter.

For a 5/8” residential meter, the base rate is $21 and includes the first 1,000 gallons of water usage. The base rate is $22.40 for sewer and is also for the first 1,000 gallons of water usage.  

The City also has a volume rate. Beginning June 1, 2021, the volume rate will be based on an increasing block rate structure:

  • Up to 15,000 gallons of usage will be charged at $3.05/1000 gallons
  • 15,001 gallons to 25,000 gallons will be billed at $3.82/1,000 gallons
  • Usage of 25,001 and more will be billed at $4.78/1,000 gallons

Customers pay only for the water they use.

Show All Answers

1. What will the rate be for each unit in each rate block/tier?
2. Will my water bill increase under the increasing block rate structure?
3. If I use 16,000 gallons, do I pay the second block rate on all 16,000 gallons or just the 1,000-gallon overage?
4. Why is there a need to conserve?
5. Is the City doing away with the minimum water charge?
6. Will the rate structure change result in additional revenue for the City?
7. Doesn’t the City’s current seasonal rate structure encourage conservation? Why are we moving to an increasing block rate structure?
8. What is an irrigation meter? How does the City know how much water I use for irrigation?
9. How do I get a separate water meter for my outdoor irrigation system? How much does it cost?
10. Why doesn't the City use non-potable water for irrigation?
11. How are water and sewer rates determined?
12. Why can the City implement an increasing block rate structure but not winter averaging?
13. Is the base rate for water determined by the size of my meter?
14. Why am I paying more for a larger water meter?
15. Can I downsize my water meter?