SAN ANTONIO- The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) is looking ahead to make sure there is enough water for the city's growth. But, those plans could cost SAWS customers today.
The proposed water plan would have SAWS customers paying 6.9 percent more by next year. The money would go towards new supplies to make drought restrictions more flexible. Funds would also be used to improve an aging sewer system.
“We do foresee that over the course of the next several years that we will require rate increases. We believe they're reasonable amounts that we will be asking customers to pay so that we can ensure today that we have water for our future,” said Greg Flores, SAWS Vice President of Public Affairs.
Flores went on further to explain the water management plan was last updated in 2009 and it was supposed to last for five years, but several factors now have saws officials looking towards a new plan sooner. Some of those factors include a growing population updated from the 2010 US Census, the responsibility to also serve former Bexar Met customers, and more underground space to store more water.
“It's a very exciting time for San Antonio because what we have determined is there is water available out there and we are proposing that we purchase that water now at today's prices before that water becomes unavailable,” said Flores.
Flores added, that price would be passed on to SAWS customers at an average cost of $3.43 extra a month.
The new water plan would also help make San Antonio’s drought restrictions more flexible. In other words customers would have the option to water their lawns more. In return they would have to pay more.
SAWS customer Jason Rea said he's not so sure this plan with raised water rates would have people watering more often.
“Actually it's kind of tough right now because a lot of us are budget conscious and you know it's a little tough with those rates going up, but I think it's going to make things a little tougher just to maintain your lawn,” said Rea.
The SAWS Board is expected to approve the 5-year plan by November. The City Council will then vote on the plan in December.
The proposed plan is still in its beginning stages so SAWS is asking for public input. There are two scheduled public meetings this week. The first will be held Wednesday night from 6:30- 8:00 PM at the Pan American Branch Library, located at 1122 West Pryron Avenue. Another meeting will be held from 6:30- 8:00 PM at St. Mary's University in the AT&T Center for Information Technology building, located at 1 Camino Santa Maria.