Allan Highstreet, project manager and vice president of CH2MHill, and Greg Clumpner, principal economist with Foresight Consulting Services, presented four alternatives to the board: three-tiered rates that are conservation based; tiered rates with minimum water use included in the basic service charge; zone rates (there are three zones in the district); and maintaining the existing rate structure.
pointed out that "10 percent of the district's accounts use 30 percent of the water."
All of the alternative rate structures seek to increase the cost of the service charge but most increases would be minimal.High water users and those living at the highest elevations in the district would see the largest increases.
"For decreasing water use, tiered are the better way to go," Highstreet
said in answer to board vice president Michael Woods' question of which rate structure would be the most conservation-inducing.
As for zone rates which charge for pumping water to elevated property, Highstreet
said, "There's no question that to serve somebody in the higher (elevation), it's going to cost somebody down below.But when spread out over all customers, this increase is minimal."
If rates stay at the current uniform commodity charge, the increase over the next five years ranges between 2 percent and 3 percent a year each, for the water rate and service charge.
"The cost of adding water is going to be a lot higher than anything you can do with changes in rate structure," said Highstreet
added that conservation rates will take some time before the district "gets what it wants."