Update on SAWS Water Rates from Councilman Courage

John Courage

My office has received numerous complaints from District 9 residents regarding high water bills from SAWS. I hear you and share your concerns. In 2017 I voted against the last SAWS rate increase request and have urged SAWS to live within their means without further rate hikes.

SAWS again has announced plans to come to Council by the end of the year to request a rate increase as high as 13.7%! A previous Council pre-authorized 5 years of rate increases in the water supply category up to a certain amount. In 2020, that amount is up to 9.9% which will go into effect on January 1, 2020. I am skeptical of any rate increase SAWS plans to bring before the Council.

Many ratepayers are still unclear exactly how their bills are calculated. In 2015, the Citizens Rate Advisory committee proposed 8 different tiers of residential rates. As one uses more water they jump into higher tiers. If you happen to jump to the highest tier, you will pay nearly 6 times the amount of water as in the lowest tier. As a result, we are seeing doubling and tripling of average bills.

 A Citizens Rate Advisory committee is formed every 5 years to review and recommend rates and structures.  The newly formed Committee recently held its first public meeting. The committee is comprised of 20 community members. Each Council District is allotted one appointment while the rest of the committee is made up of stakeholders. I have appointed Joe Yakubik, an electrical engineer and retired Lt. Col. from the U.S. Air Force, who has also been critical of SAWS’ rate structures. Mr. Yakubik is volunteering his time and expertise to take a deep dive into the balance sheet of SAWS and future rates. Their next meeting is on October 15th.

 I will continue to fight for reasonable rates and for the people of San Antonio. SAWS is owned by the City, making the ratepayer a shareholder. If you have additional concerns, please don't hesitate to contact our office at 
district9@sanantonio.gov or 210-207-0955.