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Phoenix City Council votes to increase water rates in case of Colorado River shortage

Phoenix residents will see an average of a $2 increase on their water bills starting in February.

PHOENIX—The Phoenix City Council approved a plan that will increase residents' water bills in order to fund alternative water supplies to get ahead of the looming Colorado River shortage.

The yes vote coming from the council Wednesday will raise Phoenix water rates by 6 percent starting in February 2019 and another 6 percent in February 2020.

According to the city’s website, the rate increase roughly translates to a monthly bill increase of $2 starting next month and $2.37 in 2020. The agenda from Wednesday’s meeting noted some customers may pay less or more than the 6 percent average based on their water consumption.

EARLIER: Phoenix looks to water rate increases to deal with looming disaster

Interim Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams called water a most precious resource after the council passed the rate increase.

“Approving this plan for our water future is the right thing to do,” Williams said in a statement sent to 12 News. “It’s an essential investment in our future, our economy and our quality of life.”

City council initially rejected the proposed rate increase in December in a 5-3 vote.

The city says the additional money will go toward building the infrastructure needed to pump and move alternative water instead of solely relying on the Colorado River, as shortages loom, for water. The rate increase will also provide funding for resources needed to invest in the renovation and replacement of pipes, treatment plants, pumps, reservoirs and wells.

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Even with the increase, Williams said residents in the fifth largest city still pay a relatively low water bill.

“Over the last decade, water rates have only gone up a few times,” Williams said in a statement following Wednesday’s council meeting. “Phoenix ratepayers pay nearly half the cost of water as compared to ratepayers in other large cities across the country.”

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