RATES & BILLING FAQs

What are the current EAWSD water rates?

 

How are EAWSD water rates set?

  • Water rates are set through a systematic process that combines professional cost analysis with significant community input. The most recent rate change, which will take effect in January 2020, was the result of a year-long Cost of Service and Rate Design study that projected revenue needs for the next five years.

  • The study was conducted by an industry expert in financial planning and management of water and wastewater utilities, who had performed cost-of-service and rate design studies for utilities of all sizes throughout the Southwest. The study was overseen by a committee of District staff and volunteers who were all EAWSD customers with financial and management expertise.

  • The study evaluated EAWSD’s current and projected financial situation, with the goal of ensuring we had adequate revenues to fund operations, debt service and capital improvements, comply with debt covenants, and operate on a self-sustaining basis.

  • The results of the study were shared extensively with the community and discussed in a formal public hearing, before the Board made a final decision.

 

Will rates change in the future?

  • Yes. Any future rate adjustments will depend on district-wide water usage, changes in the cost of capital projects and operations, and the degree to which new debt can be minimized by grants and low-interest loans to meet our capital needs.

  • The District constantly monitors revenues received and costs incurred. If the cost of operations, maintenance, capital improvements or interest rates were found to be leading to a significant shortfall, the District would undertake another comprehensive study of its cost of service and design of rates and hold a public hearing on any proposed changes to the rates.

 

How is EAWSD funded through our property taxes?

  • Property tax revenues are a critical resource for the District because, unlike water rates, they do not vary with consumption. Customers living within the formal water district boundaries that were established by the State in 2004 currently pay 4.246 mils ($4.264 per $1,000 of taxable property value) in taxes to EAWSD as part of their annual property tax assessment. Customers whose property lies outside the water district pay a higher “Out of District” monthly base fee in lieu of taxes.

 

Who is In-District and who is Out-of-District?

  • EAWSD’s service area includes communities located on both sides of U.S. Highway 285 between I-25 and Lamy. Customers within the formal boundaries of the District, which were established by the State in 2004, support EAWSD through their property taxes. Customers whose properties lie outside those boundaries pay a higher “Out of District” monthly base fee in lieu of taxes. A District Boundary Map is available online, and a paper copy can be consulted at the EAWSD offices.

 

Why are our water rates higher than many other water utilities?  

  • About a third of EAWSD’s annual expenses are for debt service payments, owing to the debt incurred to acquire the utility in 2004. Very few water utilities carry such a large debt relative to their customer base. Click here for more details and to see a chart.

  • In addition, EAWSD inherited utility infrastructure in very poor condition due to a lack of maintenance and basic disrepair left from the previous owners, which has required an unusual amount of investment to remediate.

  • Some public water utilities subsidize their income from sources of revenue other than customer rates. However, with the exception of occasional state grants for specific capital projects, EAWSD’s only sources of revenue are water rates and property taxes.

 

What if I get a large bill because of a plumbing leak?

  • The District has a leak adjustment policy. With proper documentation that the leak has been fixed, the District will adjust the amount of the bill attributable to the leak to the lowest tier rate ($10.00/1000 gallons). Customers can also enter into a payment plan for a high bill caused by a leak to pay off the balance over time.

 

What is the “Water Conservation Surcharge”?

  • To encourage lower water usage in peak summer months, the EAWSD Board established a water conservation surcharge in 2013 for water usage in excess of 10,000 gallons per month during the months of May through August. 
    • Residential customers using more than 10,000 gallons per month are subject to a surcharge equal to 50% of the applicable water use charges for water usage over 10,000 gallons (Tiers 4, 5 and 6 charges).
    • Commercial customers using more than 10,000 gallons per month are subject to a surcharge equal to 50% of the water use charges for water usage over 200% of the monthly average usage for the previous months of October through April.
    • Customers who use less than 10,000 gallons per month during summer months are not affected by the Water Conservation Surcharge.

 

Does EAWSD make a profit?

  • No. Eldorado Area Water and Sanitation District (EAWSD) is a special governmental district. It makes no profit. It is governed by an elected, unpaid Board of Directors, supported by volunteer committees. All its revenues — whether from rates or property taxes — go toward operating, maintaining and improving the water system and retiring its debt.

How can I get answers to billing questions?

How can I get answers to questions about the District or about my service?

  • The EAWSD website provides an abundance of information about all aspects of the District and water service. It also provides a link that customers can use to contact EAWSD. Alternatively, they can send emails to info@EAWSD.org or call (505) 466‐1085.

 

How can I communicate suggestions or concerns to EAWSD management and the Board of Directors?

  • The EAWSD website provides links for communicating with Board members and the General Manager. Alternatively, emails can be sent to the general mailbox, info@EAWSD.org. More importantly, members of the community are strongly encouraged to attend regular Board meetings and meet their elected volunteer Board members in person.