Albuquerque water bill increase possible due to conservation

Created: 04/23/2014 8:16 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The drought has taken a toll on the Duke City's water supply. That's why the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority asked people to conserve.

Water Authority customers did their part by conserving 2.5 billion gallons of water. Like many things, it comes with a price.

The price in this case: $9 million.

That's the amount of money the Water Authority needs to make up because you saved so much water and they want to do that by raising your bill.

Here in Albuquerque, customers spend about $40/month on their water bill. If the hike is approved, that bill would go up to $43/month. That's a 7.5% increase.

That's a problem for customers like Michelle Pearson who lives on a fixed income.

"I'd probably have to get a second job and get more hours because I can barely make it full-time," she said.

Simply put, the Water Authority didn't expect the conservation effort to work this well, according to spokesperson David Morris.

"The decline in revenue we experienced because of the decline in usage was such a precipitous decline and so unprecedented we did not expect that steep a decline to happen so quickly," he said.

Morris also says that he's not worried about customers choosing not to conserve anymore because customers have already become so responsible with their water. 

A vote on the bill increase is expected next month.

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