Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Water Consumption Continues to Decline, Rate Increases Predicted

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department reports that water consumption in 2008 fell 12%, or about 16 billion gallons. From 2007, water consumption has dropped 15%, or 23 billion gallons.

Due to DWSD's significant fixed costs, including bond debt and other fixed operating costs, a significant decline in water consumption (revenue) will mean that rates for next year are bound to increase even more than usual.

And as we reported last December, a decrease in water revenues may contribute to further delays in court-ordered improvements to DWSD's system. Earlier this year, DWSD canceled two major tunnel contracts -- the Upper Rouge Tunnel and the Detroit River Outfall (DRO) Contract No. 2 -- worth over $600 million on grounds that they were too costly. Many other projects, which were slated for bidding earlier this year have been delayed.

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