The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) plans to propose a new rate structure to offset revenue losses associated with the use of low-flow faucets and toilets, and less water consumption generally. As reported by the Gazette,
Federal laws aimed at conserving water limit toilets that once needed up to seven gallons per flush to 1.6 gallons. Shower heads that spewed up to eight gallons per minute are being replaced with sprays of about 2.5 gallons.
Adding to the problem, Washington-area utilities say, is the fact that consumption is falling as costs are mounting to upgrade sewer systems and repair and replace aging water pipes, some more than a century old, that are bursting after decades of decay and neglect. Meanwhile, utilities’ costs — electricity, chemicals and labor — have continued to rise.
The WSSC’s water consumption has remained flat since 1995 although 71,000 new accounts have been added.
WSSC has scheduled public meetings this month in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to pitch a new infrastructure fee and a higher account maintenance fee. They are expected to add a total of $16 to the typical household quarterly bill of $162.
Bills for households that use the least amount of water, such as people living alone, would feel the biggest impact, WSSC officials said.