SAWS headquarters at 2800 US-281. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
SAWS headquarters at 2800 US-281. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

For residents or business owners curious about how the proposed San Antonio Water System (SAWS) rate structure will effect their monthly bills, the SAWS Community Conservation Committee (CCC) will be hosting an explanation and discussion of the rate structure at 11:30 am on Wednesday July, 15 at SAWS Headquarters. Click here for meeting location details.

Since this is an open, less-structured meeting, said SAWS spokesperson Anne Hayden, citizens looking to learn more or give a statement about the rate structure will be welcome.

(Read More: Proposed SAWS Rate Structure to Promote Conservation)

The new rate structure, which would increase the number of pricing tiers for residential customers and widen the price difference for low- and high-use commercial customers, were unanimously approved by the public utility’s Rate Advisory Committee (RAC) in May. Critics of the new tiers say the change will disproportionally effect low-income customers that may not be aware or able to take advantage of SAWS Affordability Discount or money-saving coupons.

The CCC, the 25-member group formed to build community support of SAWS conservation programs, will hear a complete presentation on the rate structure from SAWS Vice President of Business Planning & Controller Mary Bailey.

Its been almost five years since San Antonio Water System (SAWS) implemented its latest tiered rate structure that charges customers more per gallon if they consume more than base level usage. Tiered-rates are meant to reward conservation and promote sustainability – if ratepayers are charged more for using more water, they’ll be incentivized to conserve. The new structure would also allow sewer and/or wastewater fees to reflect actual use instead of charging a flat rate.

According to SAWS officials and a report compiled by consulting firm Black and Veatch, less than half of the city’s residential customers will see a drop in their monthly water bill. Customers consuming more water for lawn irrigation, swimming pools, or washing vehicles will pay more.

After several more community outreach meetings, SAWS will take the rate structure to is board and then to City Council. Barring contrary direction from Council or the SAWS board, any changes to the proposed restructure would regard only verbiage.

*Featured/top image: SAWS headquarters at 2800 US-281. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

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Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at