Water Treatment

Changes to Water and Sewer Rates

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​​​On June 18, 2018, the Ann Arbor City Council enacted changes to the structure of water rates effective July 1, 2018. This decision was made based on an extensive ​​​​ Water and Waste Water Cost of Service Study​, the City's first in over 15 years. The study was performed to determine the costs of operating and investing in drinking water and sewer services and to​ set the rates customers who drive those costs should pay. ​ ​symbol.png

Effective February 1, 2019​ the sewer rates were increased to maintain a fiscally healthy fund.  ​The increase was designed to increase income to the fund by 7%. The adjustment will provide funding to cover infrastructure debt payments, primarily incurred from the recently completed $100 million rehabilitation of the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

On average, the changes in sewer rates will mean​ a single-family residential customer’s utility bill increasing by $6.66 per quarter, or $26.64 per year, an effective increase of 3.41%, if consumption were to remain the same. For this estimate, the single-family bill is calculated with 18 units per quarter and receives the 10% discount for payment on or before the due date.

You can see how the changes may impact your water bill by using our water bill estimator tool. A full list of water, sewer and stormwater rates​ are also available. 

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What changed in 2018?

The pricing of water and waste water was changed in addition to how rates are structured.

For residential customers:

Residential rate payers are now subdivided into four tiers, instead of three.

The changes in tier sizing for residential customers are as follows:

 Consumption (in CCF)Before July 1, 2018After July 1, 2018
Tier 11-71-9
Tier 28-2810-18
Tier 3>2819-36
Tier 4 37+

For non-residential and multi-family customers: ​

A new multi-family classification was added for 3 or more dwelling units served off one meter.  There is also a simplification to one sub-classification in the non-residential (formerly commercial) customer class. 

For more detailed information on the new structure, please see the ordinance​ (PDF) adopted by City Council. 

What stayed the same?

Customer bills are still comprised of two components- the fixed customer charge and the charge for volume of water used. ​Customers will still enjoy the 10% on-time payment discount. Residential customers will still receive a summer sewer discount, where the price you pay in the summer for sewer charges will be capped at the winter water consumption average.

Stormwater is a component of your bill, there are no changes to how you will be billed for stormwater. 

How am I going to be impacted by this change?

The average residential water consumption in Ann Arbor is 18 hundred ​cubic feet (CCF). Overall, the average water bill will increase by $6.66 per quarter; about $2/month.​ Please see our rat​e estimator for information on what your new bill may look like. ​

What happens next?

The structural changes went into effective July 1, 2018. On February 1, 2019, the planned 7% for sewer rates was passed by Council to maintain the fiscal health of the sewer fund.​​  Additional rate increases are planned and will be presented to Council for the water and sewer funds in Spring/Summer 2019.

Why did we change the rate structure?

In 2017, the City conducted what is called a cost of service study. The last cost of service rate study was conducted in 2003.

A cost of service study uses data to identify the costs necessary to operate and invest in the water and sewer systems and adjust the rate structure to​ make sure costs match up with the users who are driving those costs.

Since 2003, usage patterns have changed and the new rate structure adjusts for the changes and provides a sustainable and stable source of revenue to continue operating, maintaining and improving the water and sewer system.

The​ structure was adjusted based on the best available data (millions of data points) and industry best practice.

I can't afford my water/sewer bill, is help available?

There are several steps you can take to lower your water bill.  One approach is to try low cost water conservation solutions, there are dozens of actions​ you can take from turning off your tap while brushing your teeth to installing a rain sensor on your sprinkler systems.  

If you are facing a crisis, and qualify for low-income assistance, there are community resources available through the Barrier Busters Program. Please call 734.544.6748 to reach them. ​


For questions or more information, please contact us by email at customerservice@a2gov.org or calling the Customer Service Desk at 734.794.6333.