Water rates to go up in Ranch

Hike set to take effect next year

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For the third straight year, Centennial Water and Sanitation District customers should expect to see a rate increase on their monthly bills.

Following spikes of 2 percent in 2012 and 3.8 percent in 2013, Highlands Ranch residents are expected to see rates go up 6.8 percent this coming year.

This year’s proposed increase is due to the district’s involvement with both the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency Partnership (WISE) and Chatfield Reallocation Project, said Bruce Lesback, CWSD director of finance and administration.

“We held off as long as we could before increasing rates to this level for our customers, but it appears both projects are now going forward,” Lesback said.

For CWSD, the two projects are a major step toward cementing a long-term water supply and not relying as much on groundwater or leased water.

“We’ve got many years of full supply, but some of that full supply comes from leases that are not long-term,” CWSD General Manager John Hendrick told Colorado Community Media earlier this year. “We want to add to our portfolio with long-term or near-permanent surface water sources.

“We’ve got ample groundwater for droughts, but in wet years we’ll now be able to take in more than we need to and top off our reservoirs with surface water.”

Despite the rate increases, CWSD bills are expected to remain much lower than some of Highlands Ranch’s neighboring districts and, according to the district, the estimated bill for an average family in 2014 is expected to be around $750.

For comparison’s sake, the average family living within the boundaries of Parker Water and Sanitation District, the Town of Castle Rock and Castle Pines North Metro District are all spending $1,200 or slightly more for water in 2013, while those who live in Stonegate Water and Sanitation District are spending just shy of $900.

Castle Pines North is anticipated to raise its rates a small amount in 2014 and Parker has already approved a 2.56 percent increase for 2014.

A public hearing was held Nov. 25 on the proposed CWSD budget. The board of directors will vote to adopt the 2014 budget at its Dec. 16 meeting.