High Water Bills? Here is What You Need to Know
People have every right to be concerned about the cost of water from Detroit Water and Sewer and their successor Great Lakes Water Authority. Water bills are too high - that is something we can all agree on.
Why Are Water Rates Higher Than Other Towns?
We acquire water from GLWA and deliver it through township facilities. Your township built, owns and operates 97 miles of water main, a 1.5 million gallon water storage facility, 2 booster stations, 7 pressure reducing valves, and all the meters and remote reading devices at your location. We also handle billing, reporting, testing, engineering and administration.
GLWA sets rates based on 3 factors – distance from their facilities, elevation, and whether you use water during peak periods. Our town is farther and higher in elevation than most. Since we are primarily a “bedroom” community, we use water primarily during peak times. Also, as a community that prefers lower density development, we have a higher infrastructure cost PER CUSTOMER since we have less homes bearing infrastructure costs than other towns. That is a cost we bear for our lifestyle choice.
Our water storage facility mitigates the factor we can control – the peak usage. It allows us to draw from GLWA during NON-peak times and deliver to customers during peak times so that GLWA does not charge us for the peak usage.
Note that rates would be 11% higher without the water storage facility and that differential is likely to climb over time. Some of the political operatives who disrupted my board due to our role in eliminating corruption in the county opposed the water storage facility and tried to get residents to oppose it. Time has proven our board's decision to be very wise.
After YEARS of often double digit increases from GLWA (including a 25% increase in 2016!), we were able to hold rates relatively flat since building a water storage facility and hope to do so for a little while longer. That said, water is still a good value in Washington versus other typical household costs. Safe drinking water delivered to your tap costs less than $0.01/gallon. This compares favorably to milk ($2.90/g), bottled water by the case ($1.22/g) or one bottle of water at the party store ($7.50/g). Water compares favorably to electricity, home heating, gasoline, cable and other bills borne by the average family. That said, we are doing all we can to manage the costs of the Washington delivery system that are within our control.
Powerpoint slides explaining how water rates are set are below. While dated, the general concepts are the same. Please take the time to be informed.