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Your quarterly water bill pays for the city’s cost of pumping, treating, and delivering clean water to your home or business. It pays for repair and replacement of wells, water treatment plants, and pipes. Nobody actually pays for the groundwater. The water system is paid for entirely with water fees – it receives no taxpayer support.
The City has had tiered water rates since 2008 when the state legislature began requiring cities to adopt conservation rate structures. Click here to see the new 2020 tiers.
The new tiers comply with the state law that requires water utilities to adopt rates that promote water conservation. In addition, the tiered rates allocate infrastructure costs more fairly across users. The City has to build enough wells and water towers to meet summer demand. Replacement of water pipes occurs during this time. Some of this capacity is unused during the winter months, so it makes sense to charge peak users more for the infrastructure built to meet peak summer demand. The higher rates are targeted toward lawn sprinkling and outdoor use which allows the City to keep indoor water use affordable to everyone.
Although Minnesota appears to have a more than adequate supply of water, that appearance can be misleading. Most cities, including Fridley, obtain their water from aquifers deep in the ground. On average, each resident uses close to 65 gallons per day in their home, and less than 10% of that gets restored to the aquifer. Most city water gets discharged through the wastewater system into rivers and streams, or is lost to evaporation or retained in the topsoil. In cities, the problem of recharging their aquifers is exacerbated by paved surfaces and diminished wetlands. By conserving water now, we can ensure that high quality groundwater will be a sustainable resource long into in the future.