SAN ANTONIO -- Starting January 1, 2019, all SAWS users will see an increase of 4.4 percent on their water bill. That will take the average bill up $3 to about $68.60.

  • SAWS water bill to increase 4.4 percent in 2019
  • A steeper increase could be implemented in 2020
  • Several factors account for the rate hike

In 2015, City Council approved five years of water supply fees. And last year, around this time, they approved the water and sewer rates for 2018 and 2019. A new set of rates will be established in 2020.

"Part of this is because water projects and sewer projects take many years to develop, about 10, 20 years into the future," says Anne Hayden of San Antonio Water System. "You have to start with outreach and talking to people about what the idea is." 

This increase is different from other bill increases. Theirs is like a forecast, and in 2020 bills could go up as much as 11 percent or about $8 on average. But in 2022 little to no increase is expected.

SAWS representatives say there are a few main drivers for the increase. They are raising the hourly minimum wage for their employees to a living wage.They are developing remote reading for water meters which is something new.

They are also continuing significant work on their sewer system and improving customer service programs.

But the most costly is bringing in the Vista Ridge pipeline

"In San Antonio right now we're building the Agua Vista Station, and it's an incredible new site that's going to have one of the largest tanks we've ever built in San Antonio," says Hayden. "So that will be receiving the new water which will be the new centerpiece of water for the next 50 years."

And that water will be integrated into the city's water system as an additional source.