Why do we have a higher rate for our tier of 25 units and above?

Our base level consistent usage year round is around 200 million gallons a month, but in May through September, it raises to over 600 million gallons in our highest months just for lawn irrigation. “Running out” of water isn’t an acceptable option because we have to assure safe drinking water and fire protection at all times. So we have to invest in a system large enough to be able to make 3 times more than we typically sell. In certain areas, the City’s ability to meet water needs is stressed upwards of 7 to 10 times the capability to meet those needs.

Unfortunately, lower sales in off months save very little expense because most of our costs are fixed and do not go down when usage goes down. So we have to build and maintain 3 times more infrastructure for storage, treatment, and high-service extra pumping costs than we usually need, but with a system essentially three times as large as it normally needs to be, we then are faced with only having 3 to 5 months of higher use to recoup those costs.

Fairness dictates that the ones who are using way more water in a very short time are the ones who should pay for it. The study determined that the peak demands are being largely driven by our highest irrigation users, so that’s why we adjusted our tiers to recover more cost from the heaviest irrigators. Low-irrigation customers will be better off under this system, and customers who still want to irrigate heavily can still make that choice. The City isn’t seeking to restrict usage, just to stop low-irrigation customers from subsidizing high-irrigation customers in the future.

Public Works Utility Billing Rate Schedule 2019

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1. Why do we have a higher rate for our tier of 25 units and above?
2. My water bill shows units of water used. What is a unit?
3. How do I establish water service at a new home in Bismarck?
4. How do I establish water service at a new business in Bismarck?
5. What do I need to do to discontinue water services?
6. Why is my water consumption so high?
7. How can I conserve water in my home?
8. Where is the City Landfill located?
9. How can I dispose of paint or other hazardous materials?
10. How often is garbage picked up in Bismarck?
11. If my original garbage day lands on a holiday, when will my garbage be picked up?
12. What if I have an emergency and my street is blocked with snow?
13. What are the requirements and restrictions for garbage to be picked up?
14. What are the regulations for the Automated Waste Collection Containers?
15. What is the difference between inert waste and non-inert waste?
16. How do I report a street light or stop light that is malfunctioning?
17. How do I report a large pothole?