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Yes. If you use the same amount of water you will still see an increase of $0.40 per 1,000 gallons.
Last updated Feb. 10, 2023
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The rates you pay go to fund the full operation of our water and sewer utilities. Specifically, this covers:
Last updated Friday, Feb. 10, 2023
The City of West Fargo sets the new rates based on the cost of providing water and sewer service to the different user types. As the costs above increase, we need to make sure we are able to cover them. With this new rate adjustment, the rates will also fund additional repair and rehabilitation projects so the costs are not all special assessed to residents.
The bases of each fixed charge is the size of the meter. This is an industry best practice for determining the cost of providing service. The fixed charges are intended to cover the fixed costs for providing service, such as budgeted administration, meters and billing. This is often the “overhead” of your utility.
5/8" & 3/4" (standard residential size)
Last updated Feb. 10, 2023.
Usage charges for water and sewer come from the amount of water recorded by the customer’s meter. The usage charges are costs for the water supply from the City of Fargo, operating the utility, wastewater treatment, transmission, distribution, collection, pumping, and other operational and environmental variables.
The City has a two-tier rate structure for residential water use. The first tier volumetric rate is $7.40 per thousand gallons up to 20,000 gallons. The second tier is $9.15 per thousand gallons over 20,000 gallons. These tiers do not apply to sewer rates. The first tier of 20,000 gallons includes an amount equal to typical indoor usage in any given month (which is less than 6,000 gallons) plus an amount to include lawn watering. Data from North Dakota State University estimates that about 14,000 gallons per month would be adequate to maintain an average sized green lawn. More information on summer lawn care can be found at this link.
This type of rate structure serves two primary purposes. First, the rate structure recognizes the cost of building extra capacity in the pipes, pumping, and storage facilities around the City to meet increasing average and peak day demands. Second, the structure encourages responsible water usage. Decreased water usage allows the City to delay future cost increases associated with increases to system capacity, thereby keeping capital costs down.
The $0.40 per 1,000 gallon water usage rate increase will apply to all utility accounts, including businesses and multifamily units.
The residential rates provides a two-tier structure for water rates and a cap on sewage charges to avoid penalizing homes for maintaining a nice, green lawn. In the two-tier structure, water usage up to 20,000 gallons is charged at a lower rate. If you use more than 20,000 gallons per month to water your lawn you may pay more. The sewage rate for residents caps at 8,000 gallons.
Here is an example of charges for 18,000 gallons of water (4,000 water indoors and 14,000 gallons to maintain an average-sized lawn).
The increase is due to the City of Fargo increasing their water supply cost by $0.40 per 1,000 gallons for the first time since 2016. The City of West Fargo’s water rate is adjusting the exact amount to cover this cost. The City of West Fargo will also conduct a comprehensive utility rate study in the coming year that may lead to additional rate changes.
A residence with a ¾” meter would pay about $49 in Fargo for 4,000 gallons of water and sewer service in a month. The same customer in West Fargo would pay about $62. The difference comes from how the two cities fund infrastructure, with Fargo using revenues outside the utilities, such as sales tax, to offset water and sewer infrastructure costs. The City of West Fargo’s sales tax collection is not large enough to subsidize utility payments in this way.
There is a portion of the City of West Fargo that receives water service from the Cass Rural Water District but sewage service from the City of West Fargo. In order to bill for sewage, the City of West Fargo will receive the customer’s monthly water meter reading from Cass Rural Water District and determine the sewage charge from that information.
According to the Water Environmental Federation, determining flow for wastewater is complicated by the fact that most customers are not metered for wastewater flow. Even if a large user is metered for flow, the meters themselves tend to have some challenges on reliability. As a result, one of the most common approaches to determining the volume for wastewater is using the metered water use.
All of the industry standards and recommend approaches rely on the metered water consumption to some extent due to the cost and impracticality of metering wastewater flow. Based on these best practices, the City of West Fargo also uses metered water usage, but puts a cap on residential usage. This is done to account for much of the summer water flow for lawn and garden maintenance that does not go into the sewer system.