An Explanation of Roxborough Water and Sanitation District’s Water Bills
As of March 25, 2021, the RWSD monthly water bill is made up of several elements:
|Water Treatment & Distribution:||$36.50|
|Water System Replacement Fund:||$3.00|
|Water Supply Fund||$25.00|
|Base Monthly Charge||$64.50|
Residents in Ravenna pay an additional $100/month as an Extended System Development Charge, and residents of the Plum Valley Heights Subdistrict pay an additional $25.48/month as an Ongoing Inclusion Fee.
In addition to the Base Monthly Charge, everyone is charged a usage charge per 1,000 gallons of water used based on a tiered rate structure. This structure means the more water someone uses, the more they pay per gallon. The usage charge covers the District’s variable costs – chemicals, power, operators – that increase with the volume of water treated. The usage charge also covers the amount the District pays per 1,000 gallons for the raw water supplied by the City of Aurora.
The Water Treatment and Distribution Charge covers the District’s fixed costs for operating the water treatment and distribution systems regardless of demand. Fixed costs are the day-to-day business, operations and maintenance expenses of the existing infrastructure to provide water service to the community 24/7/365. Assessing a fixed monthly charge to cover fixed costs ensures the District has the funds it needs to operate efficiently.
The Water System Replacement Fund is a monthly charge to build reserves for the inevitable need to replace aging infrastructure. RWSD’s system includes 74 miles of water pipes, 4 pump stations, 6 storage tanks, 1,993 valves, and 549 fire hydrants. Portions of the system are over 40-years old, and planning now for the replacement of these facilities, just as we had to plan for replacement of the old water treatment plant, will help stabilize rates down the road.
The Water Supply Fund is assessed to repay the money borrowed to purchase the community’s permanent, high quality raw-water supply. The Water Supply Fund is not used for the new water treatment plant. The District used reserves and other capital contributions to fund the construction of the $34-million water treatment plant. While the Water Supply Fund shows up on your bills as “WT” that’s shorthand for “water.” When the District was able to secure a permanent water supply from the City of Aurora, it had to pay the City’s Development and Connection Fee, essentially the tap fee for each customer served in the community. The District was able to secure a low-interest loan to fund the purchase, and this fee funds the repayment of that loan.
The other monthly charges that appear on your water bill are fees for sewer service. The District operates two wastewater lift stations and miles of collector sewers and transmission pipelines to convey the wastewater to the City of Littleton where it is cost-effectively treated, and the reclaimed water returned to the South Platte River for use downstream. The system to convey wastewater to the regional treatment facility was completed almost 15-years ago and allows the community to take advantage of the economies-of-scale available at a 50-million gallon per day (MGD) treatment facility versus the District’s old 0.6 MGD facility. It also eliminated the liability of operating a wastewater treatment plant near the South Platte River, just upstream of Chatfield Reservoir. The community voted in 2002 to approve a bond issue to fund the regionalization of the wastewater (sewer) system and the property tax mill levy necessary to repay the bonds.
Your monthly sewer bill consists of:
|Sewer Collection and Treatment:||$40.50|
|Sewer Replacement Fund:||$3.00|
|Monthly Base Sewer Charge||$43.50|
The Sewer Collection and Treatment Charge covers the costs to operate and maintain the sewer system and pay the fees charged by the City of Littleton. The 2020 increase in the Sewer Collection and Treatment Charge was necessary because of an increase in Littleton’s rates.
The Sewer Replacement Fund helps build the reserves necessary to replace the District’s aging infrastructure. The District’s sewer collection and transmission system consists of 63 miles of pipes, 2 lift stations, and 1,434 manholes. As with the water system, portions of the District’s sewer system are over 40 years old, and we need to plan for the need to repair or replace.
Finally, Irrigation-Only Water Taps are charged 1.5 times the residential rates for both the Water Treatment and Distribution Charge and the usage charge. The District completed a study that showed irrigation-only connections use 1.5 times as much water as a typical residential connection, and they are only in use during the summer when overall system use is highest.
Every year in October, I write an explanation of the District’s draft budget prior to its adoption by the community’s elected Board. The Board also holds a public hearing on the budget at its November Board meeting, which we publicize on the website and in the newsletter. Similarly, in early March, I post information explaining the factors being considered in the annual rate study prior to the District’s public hearing on rates. We also publicize the rate hearing on the website and in the newsletter and post the rate presentation with notes on the website.