By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver water customers can expect a slight increase to their water bills in 2021. The Denver Board of Water Commissioners adopted the rate changes on Wednesday.

The new rates will help pay for Denver Water’s new Lead Reduction Program, which launched in January. Officials say most residents will see their water bill increase by less than 70 cents per month if they use similar volumes to 2020.

A worker installs new lead copper pipe in a basement as part of Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program. (credit: Denver Water)

“Under normal circumstances, we anticipated the need for a 3% to 5% increase to cover our existing costs plus our new, groundbreaking Lead Reduction Program,” said Denver Water CEO/Manager Jim Lochhead. “But with the economic consequences of the pandemic evident across our community, Denver Water has cut its costs and scaled back the necessary increase to 1.5%, ensuring we can cover the cost of our new Lead Reduction Program and also move forward on a series of major, multiyear projects to ensure we’re meeting our commitment to our customers.”

The Lead Reduction Program will replace an estimated 64,000-84,000 customer-owned lead service lines over a 15-year period. The program aims to prevent lead from getting into drinking water as it passes through the service lines.

Denver Water will provide water pitchers and filters for customers enrolled in the program to use for drinking and cooking until after their service lines are replaced.

The new water rates are set to take effect on Jan. 1. Officials said a customer using 102,000 gallons as they did in 2020 would see an overall rise in the monthly bill of 67 cents.

Denver Water has an agreement with suburban distributor partners to share costs associated with the Lead Reduction Program. Customers outside the city using 102,000 gallons would see a monthly increase between 45 cents and 54 cents per month, officials said.

Denver Water’s proposed five-year, $1.5 billion capital plan includes about 100 major projects, including the Gross Reservoir expansion, a new water treatment plant, water quality lab and a new 8.5-mile water pipeline to replace a pipeline built in the 1930’s.

The new Northwater Treatment Plant under construction north of Golden. (credit: Denver Water)

Denver Water serves 1.5 million people in the Denver metro area. For more information about the 2021 rate change and the Lead Reduction Program, visit Denver Water’s website.

Audra Streetman

  1. “lead reduction program” is code for “shore up our retirement fund”……I actually read the small print.

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