Las Vegas Sun

November 23, 2014

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Water delivery rates headed up, but residents shouldn’t notice

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Pat Mulroy

The cost of pumping water from Lake Mead into the Las Vegas Valley is going up, but residents shouldn’t expect to see any changes in their water bills.

The issue: The Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Board of Directors considered whether to increase the wholesale delivery charge to local municipalities by $10 per acre foot.

The vote: Approved unanimously.

What it means: The SNWA’s member agencies, including Henderson, North Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Valley Water District, will pay more for the water they distribute to residents starting in July.

The increase approved Thursday raises the price of an acre foot of water, equivalent to about 325,000 gallons, from $293 to $303 dollars.

This is the second $10 increase levied by the water authority in the last two years, and another could be needed next year to offset rising energy prices that drive up the cost of transporting the water.

But because the rate hikes are being spread out over several years, residents aren’t expected to pay any more on their monthly water bills.

“The combination of the possible hit for power rate increases and the increase in the debt service is driving this recommendation,” said Water Authority General Manager Pat Mulroy, who noted that the incremental raises prevent the need for a large rate hike in the future.

“It hedges against more significant increases in the future,” Mulroy said.

Money collected through the wholesale delivery charge pays for the day-to-day operating costs of the regional water system and is not used to pay for any of the water authority’s large-scale capital projects, such as the third intake straw at Lake Mead.

The approved rate increase will generate an additional $4.5 million in delivery charges, which account for about one third of all revenues the water authority collects.

The board, which is made up of representatives from member agencies, also approved a final $454.1 million budget for the water authority for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, that uses $126 million in reserves to cover the difference between revenues and expenses.

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  1. I notice any increase.