Denver Water raising rates on average $1.29 per month for new projects

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DENVER — The Denver Board of Commissioners adopted a $371 million budget Wednesday that includes a rate increase to help pay for upgrades to utilities.

The budget calls for a rate increase of $1.29 per month on average for residential customers. Actual amounts will vary depending on a customer’s water usage and where they live in Denver, said Stacy Chesney of Denver Water.

The rate increase goes into effect in January.

The increase is designed to help pay for multi-year projects including replacing aging pipes and failing underground storage tanks, upgrading water treatment facilities and rehabilitation the Antero Dam, Chesney said.

“We continue to prepare for Colorado’s increasingly extreme and unpredictable weather cycles, which require us to do all we can to make sure our system is even more resilient,” said Jim Lochhead, CEO/manager of Denver Water, in a statement. “In response to the dry conditions earlier this year, we prepared financially by reducing our 2013 operating expenses, deferring projects and tapping into our cash reserves to help reduce our costs and balance our finances.”

Chesney said rates for Denver Water customers living in the city would remain among the lowest in the metro area.

Denver Water maintains about 3,000 mile of pipe, 19 raw water reservoirs, 22 pump stations and four treatment plants.