Aurora (CO) Approves Water Surcharge

City leaders approved a summer surcharge water-use schedule in their effort to reduce demand on the city's water resources.

On May 15, Aurora became the first city in Colorado to establish mandatory every-third-day outdoor watering restrictions. City officials also are enforcing a water-wasting ordinance in hopes of reducing demand by at least 15 percent this summer in the face of one of the worst droughts on record.

"Along with those measures, the surcharge program is designed to reduce demand, but it gives people a choice," said Peter Binney, Aurora's director of utilities. "They can use more water if they want, but it will cost them more."

The surcharge rates, which would go into effect July 6, kick in at various use levels, depending on a customer's account.

"We looked at records for 2000, a high-use year, to establish the benchmark," Binney said.

For example, a single-family residential customer using up to 15,000 gallons per month would pay the normal rate. Use between 15,000 gallons and 25,000 gallons costs double the normal rate, and everything over 25,000 gallons a month would cost triple the normal single-family residential rate.

For other accounts -- such as commercial, industrial or irrigation -- the use amounts vary according to the size of the water meter.

"Once again, the intent is to try to reduce the amount of outdoor water use going through our system," Binney said. "Our efforts so far seem to be working."

Denver Rocky Mountain News

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