Rate Increase Frequently Asked Questions

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​​**The rate increases that are mentioned in this page were approved by the Phoenix City Council on June 28, and went into effect on October 1, 2023. These rate increases were necessary to meet inflationary pressures affecting our water and wastewater utility and utilities across the nation. Phoenix will still have some of the most affordable water services compared to other large cities. There was also a request to increase the Stormwater Excise Tax to fund the City's compliance with new requirements for preventing pollution from entering waterways, and this too was approved by the Phoenix City Council.  Watch the June 28, 2023 Council meeting where the rate increases were approved.  

View the approved rate schedules for October 2023, March 2024, and March 2025. ​

View the Tax and Fee document, which includes the approved Stormwater Excise Tax information.  ​


What do the City of Phoenix Water Services Department recommend? 
The City of Phoenix Water Services Department recommended a rate increase for water services and stormwater excise tax.  
  • Preliminary estimates show the average residential customer will see an increase for water service (Water Usage Fee) of approximately 6.5% or $2 in October 2023, with additional increases in March 2024 (6.5%) and March 2025 (13%).  
  • For wastewater service, the average residential customer will see an increase of approximately 6.5% or $1.60 in October 2023 with additional increases in March 2024 (6.5%) and March 2025 (7%). Changes to the water and wastewater rates impact everyone differently, and there are many factors that determine how much each customer pays.  
  • The Stormwater Excise Tax, which supports the City’s stormwater permit actions required by the Federal Clean Water Act, increased by $0.25 for most residential customers beginning in October 2023 because of new and expanded permit requirements.   View the Tax and Fee document, which includes the approved Stormwater Excise Tax information. 
​What opportunities did Phoenix Water Services customers have to learn more about the rate increases before they were approved? 
More than 20+ presentation at Village Planning Community Meetings and Public Meetings events were held in March, April, and May 2023 to get feedback from residents.  
Why did the Water Services Department recommended this rate increase? 
Inflation is impacting both Operating and Capital Program budgets, including: 
  • Increases in raw water, electricity, personnel and chemical costs. 
Additional revenue needed to meet higher expenses, improve aging infrastructure, and protect bond rating.  The proposed rate increase is part of the department's five-year Capital Improvement Plan, which includes significant investments in water pipes, treatment plants, and advanced water purification technology. 

Forecast for cost increases by fiscal year 2023/2024: 
Chart showing inflationary increases
When did the Phoenix City Council vote on the rate increase?  
The proposed increases are were approved by the Phoenix City Council on June 28, 2023 with a Notice of Intent issued in April 2023. The approved rates will go into effect in October 2023, March 2024 and March 2024. 
What services does my water bill cover?  
Just like other utilities, Phoenix Water charges you for reliable service to receive and use the high-quality water that comes out of your tap and the water that goes down your drain after being used for numerous purposes in your home. Phoenix Water operates two utilities: Water, which provides you with safe, reliable drinking water and fire protection and Wastewater, which safely handles and treats the waste you produce. The proposed rate increases cover both water and wastewater infrastructure at the plants and under the street.    
Will the money I pay for wastewater (sewer) service go up?  
Yes. The wastewater rate will be increasing as well. For wastewater service, the average residential customer will see an increase of approximately $1.60 in October 2023 with additional increases in March 2024 and March 2025 for a total increase of 20%. 


How does the proposed rate increase process work?  
The leadership team has been working on the proposed rate for over a year.

Should we expect this pattern of increasing the water rates every other year to continue? 
Yes, water rates are expected every year, subject to changing conditions. 
Business versus Commercial consumers - how will the increase affect each? 
Everyone gets the same water rate, business and residential, however, many factors affect the cost such as meter sizes.  For wastewater, there are many user types and they do pay different rates based on the contaminants and quality of the wastewater.  
Are water rates higher in some parts of the city than in others?  
No. There is no difference in residential rates based on your location. If you live in the south part of Phoenix your rate is the same as someone who lives in the north part of Phoenix, and vice versa. While the rates are the same, bills can differ between customers due to the amount of water used, the size of the water meter, and the amount of impervious surface on a property.  


What is the Stormwater Excise Tax? 
The Stormwater Excise Tax funds the City’s compliance with a required Clean Water Act Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for operation of the storm drain system. 

Will there be an increase in the Stormwater Excise Tax assessment?  
To increase our capability in dealing with Stormwater infrastructure and compliance, the Stormwater Excise Tax must go up $0.25. Currently, the tax is only $0.70 for the average residential customer, but with the increase to $0.95, Phoenix will be able to better manage the Stormwater program.  View the Tax and Fee document, which includes the approved Stormwater Excise Tax information. ​ 


What is a water allowance, and do I pay for that in addition to the service fee?  
The water allowance for each customer is included with the monthly service charge. Currently, customers 4,488 gallons of water (6 units x 748 gallons/unit) during the cooler months of October through May, and 7,480 gallons (10 units x 748 gallons/unit) during the warmer months of June through September. If you use more than that allowance each month, you will be charged a volume charge for each unit over your allowance.  
Will the water allowance be changing?  
The newly approved rates includes changing the water allowance structure to encourage water conservation, which could result in some customers paying an additional amount of approximately $4 more beginning in October 2023.  

The Phoenix Water Services Dept. has a seasonal structure for rates where charges are higher in the hotter seasons and lower in the cooler seasons. It is designed to encourage water conservation and discourage excessive water use in the summer when outdoor water use increases. 
The goal is to get customers to use less water than they do right now, and if they use more water and ignore the allowance, they will be charged more. Charging a customer more may change their behavior when it comes to water use.  
What does the current and future water allowance look like? 
1 Unit = 748 Gallons = 100 Cubit Feet
Current Volume Allowance
Proposed Volume Allowance
4,488 gallons (6 Units) - October through May (Cooler Months)3,740 gallons (5 Units) - October through May (Cooler Months)
7,480 gallons (10 Units) – June through September (Warmer Months)5,984 gallons (8 Units) – June through September (Warmer Months)
What does the average single family residential customer’s seasonal water usage and charges look like? (Based on calendar year 2022) 
Seasonal Average Water Usage – based on calendar year 2022 
Winter Average = 10.45 CCF 
Spring Average = 12.84 CCF 
Summer Average = 15.66 CCF  
Fall Average = 13.27 CCF 
Seasonal Average Water Charges 
Winter Average = $26.65 
Spring Average = $40.44 
Summer Average = $39.65 
Fall Average = $42.46 
How did the City of Phoenix establish the baseline for the water rate?  Is it by the size of the home or average use? If a customer had a pool or large family, do you base their allotment on their personal average usage?  
Neither. The city of phoenix does not consider the size of a home or average use. Water charges are calculated by estimating future department expenses along with projected revenue. The water rate increases ensure that revenue will be able to match department expenses.   
How is a unit of water measured? Is the allowance could be based on the size of the home/number of bedrooms instead of the meter size?    
A unit of water is 1 CCF which is equal to 748 Gallons of water. The allowance is not based on meter size. The allowance is a set amount of water that encourages customers stay under the allotted amount to maximize cost saving on their monthly bill. All water customers currently get an allowance of 10 CCF monthly (7480 gallons) in summer and 6 CCF monthly (4488 gallons) in non-summer months irrespective of their meter size. The proposed change in the allowance would be 3740 Gallons (6 CCF) in October through May and 5984 (8 CCF) June through September.  
How many people were using water over the current allowance limits and how many people would be impacted by this change especially lower income individuals?    
  • The number of customers who were always under the allowance but will now be over the new allowance at least once in a year: 16,901 (approx. 17,000) 
  • Number of customers who were sometimes over the allowance: 166,099 (approx. 166,000) (It is understood that customers who were sometimes over in a given year, will still be over sometimes in a given year after the allowance change, and perhaps, additionally. 
  • Still Always Under (Under before and after): 34,293 (approx. 34,000) 
  • Always Over (Over before and after): 172,078 (approx. 172,000) 
  • Total Single-Family Customers at the end of 2021: 389,371 (approx. 390,000) 


How much will the rate increase cost the average household?  
Changes to the water and wastewater rates impact everyone differently, and there are many factors that determine how much each customer pays. 
Does everyone in Phoenix pay the same amount for water, what about people outside of Phoenix? 
Yes, water rates are the same for all residents in the Phoenix. While the rates are the same, bills can differ between customers due to the amount of water used, the size of the water meter, and the amount of impervious surface on a property.  
What is the impact of the rate increase to my bill? 
The Phoenix Water Services Dept. is proposing a rate increase to keep up with rising water and wastewater services costs. Despite the increase, Phoenix will still have some of the most affordable water services compared to similar cities, and customers who conserve water will be able to lessen the impact of the higher rates. Changes to the water and wastewater rates impact everyone differently, and there are many factors that determine how much each customer pays. An online calculator is available to calculate you bill. 
How Much Will My Bill Go Up for water with the Rate Increase?  
This rate increase roughly translates into an increase of $2.00 a month for the average residential water customer starting in October 2023. Phoenix water bills rank as among the most affordable in the country. The water rates in Phoenix have three main components: the monthly fixed service charge, volume (usage) charges and environmental charges. There are several component parts to both the water and sewer rates, some of the rate components will not change and others will increase by varying proportions. Your actual city services bill will vary depending on the number of days of service (typically 29-31 days), the amount of water used at your business or residence.  
Does the City of Phoenix have an income-based program or senior citizen discount program? 
We want to assure our customers that we are committed to providing high-quality water service at the lowest possible cost. We also offer various assistance programs and payment options for customers who may need help with their bills. 
For customers that receive bill assistance from the department, who will now be affected by the changes in allowance levels, will receive direct outreach. The direct outreach will include a home audit to identify areas where water can be conserved. Those households will also be eligible for a $150 incentive ​for an irrigation controller for participating in the home audit. The department will start an outreach program highlighting these programs starting in June 2023.  
I’m Having Financial Difficulty/Trouble Paying my Bill. Is Assistance Available?  
The City has several programs available for those struggling to pay their bill, such as Project Assist. Contact the Water Customer Services Division at 602.262.6251 for assistance.  

How Does Phoenix Water Make Sure Rates Are Fair for Each Customer?  
The City of Phoenix cares about the affordability of its water for those that are economically disadvantaged.  

Who can I call if I have a question about my city services bill?  
Phoenix Customer Services representatives are available to assist you from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Simply call 602.262.6251 or send them an email at cityservicesbill@phoenix.gov

I’ve noticed water main breaks throughout Phoenix. Is the money I pay for water making a difference?  
The best way to address leaking pipes is to replace them. The proposed water rate increase is increasing the amount of money we are putting toward the replacement or rehabilitation of aging pipelines. Approximately 1/3 ?? of the revenue that would be generated by this rate increase is associated with pipeline rehabilitation or replacement.  


What is Phoenix doing about the drought? 
The City of Phoenix declared a Stage 1 Water Alert on June 1, 2022, and that alert is still in place. With conditions on the Colorado River expected to worsen, Phoenix Water customers must prioritize conservation. The City responses included added infrastructure of the Drought Pipeline, public conservation education and a sustainable Desert City Development Policy, that implements best management practices for new development and limits new large water users and annexations. The next major updated by the federal government will happen in August 2023. 
More information about the Stage 1 Drought can be found online at phoenix.gov/waterservices/drought.   


What has Phoenix done to conserve water in the past? 
Phoenix Water Services continues to build a culture of conservation that began in the 1950’s when staff recognized the need for alternate water supplies. Over the past 30 years, customers in Phoenix have embraced water conservation initiatives and made lifestyle changes to reduce per person water use by over 30%. The current rate structure, established in 1990, provides a fixed rate for basic water service at an affordable cost, with higher rates for water usage above a certain amount.  
How can single-family homeowners reduce water use? 
While any burden our customers may experience due to rate changes is a very serious matter, it is worth noting that many customers will be able to mitigate the impacts of the allowance change on their bill without investing in expensive new appliances or landscaping.  
If single family home customers were to water their existing landscapes using our recommended watering schedule and fix all leaks in their homes, they could reduce their water use by nearly 4 units per month, double the maximum proposed change to the allowance.  
Can you quantify water reduction w/fixing leaks and overall water loss? 
The average home loses more than 10,000 gallons of water each year through leaks. Residents can find undetected leaks by actively searching for leaks each month and working to fix them. Leaks can also be found by reviewing and comparing water consumption on your City Services Bill, if your bill is higher, but you have not changed your consumption, you may have a leak.  
Check out the Smart Home Water Guide by AMWUA to find and fix leaks.  
Where can I get information about desert landscaping? 
The City of Phoenix has a wealth of information available online at phoenix.gov/wrc that includes everything from landscape plants for the Arizona Desert to landscape watering guides.  
How is the City of Phoenix working with regional conservation efforts? 
In Spring 2023, the City of Phoenix signed a Conservation Memorandum of Understanding with southwestern cities that rely on the Colorado River to develop programs to reduce water use through set goals.  


What is our outreach plan for water conservation incentive programs?  
Learn more about our water conservation incentive programs.   
How will the toilet replacement incentive program work? 
The Water Services Dept. will be rolling out a incentive program for $75 for high efficiency toilet replacement this summer, limit two toilets per year. Incentives are subject to eligibility requirements and will require an application along with support documentation. Replaced toilets must be over 3 gallons per flush and replaced with a new EPA WaterSense labeled toilet of 128gallons per flush. Applications will be available on the myPHX311 site.  
The department will be rolling out new water conservation initiatives. Many of which will start this summer. We are enhancing our toilet replacement program with a $75 residential bill credit for the installation of a low flow toilet. We will also have a $75 residential bill credit for the installation of a new irrigation controller. With our work with ASU, we will be providing free xeriscaping landscaping plans that can be adapted to your household to give ideas and concepts for those individuals that are wanting to change their landscaping but need a little help with ideas.   

What about turf removal incentives?  
The Water Services Department is evaluating a turf removal incentive program that will be available for residential, commercial and industrial customers.  The turf program is anticipated to be available by the end of the year and may offer $2 per square foot.  
Why are we not being as aggressive with turf removal incetives like Las Vegas? 
The City of Phoenix has built planning for drought into the management of resources. Because of this proactive approach, at the current time of the Stage 1 Drought Management Plan aggressive measures such as forced cuts and water waste citations are not part of the strategy.  


What type of outreach is being done for HOAs that waste water through inefficient water use of areas with no vegetation?   
The Phoenix Water Services Conservation Team has helped HOAs identify more than 150M gallons of inefficient water use. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact conservation@phoenix.gov.   


Will Phoenix Water start penalizing commercial users who waste water?  
Currently, there are no plans to penalize commercial users. Currently, the Phoenix Water Conservation team has developed and piloted a water waste door hanger outreach program. Results of the pilot will be reviewed this fall.  
Will there be a turf removal incentive program​ for large commercial user who converted their large, landscaped areas to xeriscape instead of turf?  
The Water Services Department is evaluating a turf removal incentive program that will be available for residential, commercial and industrial customers.  The turf program is anticipated to be available by the end of the year and may offer $2 per square foot.  
Where is most of the water used in Phoenix?  
Most water use is single family residential. The single largest water use is outdoor single family residential.  Existing large water users are a small portion of demand.  
What programs are available for businesses in Phoenix?  
The Water Services Division employees a team of conservation experts who have created and launched action-focused programs geared towards businesses that help that reduce their water usage.  Among these programs include a Revamped Business Water Efficiency Program, Water Management Practices and Cooling Tower Revolving Fund that help to identify water savings and are customized for each business. 


Why are allowing water to be wasted by residents that allow water to flow off their property into storm drains? 
The Environmental Services Division in Phoenix Water Services focuses on Stormwater Awareness outreach and education. The campaign works to educate the public that simple everyday actions can help reduce stormwater pollution. This is done every year for Stormwater Awareness Week, held the fourth week of January, and is an annual regional effort. Stormwater in Phoenix is NOT treated like the wastewater system and collects pollutants as it flows through gutters, parking lots, driveways, and other paved surfaces. The ​polluted stormwater flows into storm drains, rivers, washes, and retention basins. While we can’t control resident’s water use flowing into storm drains, the City can help educate the public about stormwater pollution hazards like chemicals, automobile fluids and pet waste. 
The City of Phoenix’s (City) Stormwater Management Program (Program) is supported by a Stormwater Excise Tax (SET) that has been in place since 1993 and is currently codified in Phoenix City Code Section 37-65(B). The City is proposing an increase to the SET for all City water service accounts. Most single-family residential accounts will be assessed an additional $0.25/month.  
This increase is primarily the result of new and expanded permit requirements from the City’s latest Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. 


If the SRP system is full and they are releasing water, how many years will it take for the Colorado river system to fill back up to a sustainable level?  
Such water releases are necessary in years with a lot of snow to make enough room behind a dam for a larger-than-normal spring run-off. These water releases ensure dam and public safety. SRP will provide this water to the cities and irrigation districts that take deliveries from its system so it can be put to beneficial use. Additionally, the water SRP releases will flow downstream in the Salt River and recharge the aquifer, which helps Valley water providers. 
The Salt and Verde reservoir systems are nearly in balance, which means the annual demand is close to the annual supply. In contrast, the Colorado River system’s yearly demand has exceeded annual run-off due to a historic drought, warmer and drier hydrologic conditions in the Colorado River basin, and being over-allocated, leaving it unbalanced.