Castle Rock water users will see an increase in their 2023 rates as the town invests in a number of water infrastructure projects and efforts to build renewable resources.
The Castle Rock Town Council unanimously approved an average of a 4% increase, as well as increased fees for developers, on Oct. 4. The rate changes will translate to an extra $4 per month on residential bills.
Mark Marlowe, the director of Castle Rock Water, told the board at the Sept. 20 meeting that rates are increasing as both costs in supply and demand continue to rise.
Marlowe said supply cost increases include rising construction, labor and energy costs, as well as challenges with a slowed down supply chain. At the same time, Castle Rock has planned a number of investments into its water systems.
Next year, Castle Rock plans to invest $19 million in a second reservoir planned for Castle Rock Water, $14 million for a program to import water. Funds will also be used to begin the design to double the capacity of the Plum Creek Water Purification Facility, build a new groundwater well facility, enhance infrastructure and add staff.
“(Castle Rock’s water demand) requires a lot of infrastructure,” Marlowe said. “Big pumps, big pipes, big plants, that we really only use three months out of the year, but are very expensive to maintain.”
Significant investment in the water system is needed, Marlowe explained, as the town works hitting the goal of having 75% in renewable water sources.
“We’re transitioning off our deep groundwater over time, so we need to also cover those increasing costs for renewable water supply, not only in new development but also in terms of existing customers.
Breaking down the rate increases, town council approved a 4.5% increase in water rates, 7.5% increase in the water resources rate, 4.5% increase in stormwater rates to total an average of a 4% increase or $4 per month to residential water bills. Wastewater will not see a rate increase.
System development fees, which are paid by developers building in Castle Rock, will also increase by 10% for water, 15% for water resources, 10% for wastewater and 10% for stormwater.
Rates for both system users and developers are expected to continue rising for the foreseeable future.
“A lot of that is coming down to the fact that around 2030 we’re going to have to take out a large debt issuance to cover the costs of big water projects that will come due in that time period,” Marlowe said.
Marlowe added that the rates are evaluated annually and reduced when possible.
Castle Rock Water has raised rates for this year and one other time since 2018, while system development fees, which are paid by developers, have consistently gone up.
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