The Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) has approved its 2022 budget, which increases its commodity water rate 23 cents per 1,000 gallons and adds $ 1.38 to the quarterly Infrastructure Investment Charge for ECWA’s more than 166,000 small meter residential customers.
Beginning January 1, residential customers will pay a rate of $3.80 per 1,000 gallons, which equates to an additional $15.64 per year based on median customer consumption of 68,000 gallons annually. The Infrastructure Investment charge will increase 1.38 cents per quarter or $5.52 for the year for small meter customers. Water rate increases have averaged at or below the rate of inflation over the past several years, and ECWA is the second lowest for annual water bill cost among municipal water purveyors in Upstate and Central New York.
“Our 2022 budget is a very stable and healthy spending plan that includes our largest single-year infrastructure investment in ECWA’s history,” said ECWA Chairman Jerome Schad. “We are confident that our customers recognize that a modest rate increase is needed to provide the additional revenue to help fund essential infrastructure upgrades that make their water system more dependable and safe.”
The 2022 budget includes $76.2 million for system-wide infrastructure upgrades, a $21 million increase over the $55 million budgeted for system infrastructure in 2021. Next year’s major infrastructure projects include:
· $48.2 million for new water transmission and distribution mains throughout ECWA’s system
· $11 million for upgrades at the Sturgeon Point and Van De Water Treatment Plants
· $9.2 million for upgrades to major pump stations throughout ECWA’s service territory
· $4.6 million for information technology upgrades, enhancements at the water quality laboratory, and general facility upgrades
· $1.9 million for new remote radio read residential water meters
· $1.3 million for service and line maintenance vehicles
The 2022 infrastructure upgrades are part of an overall $321 million five-year infrastructure investment plan, which ECWA fully expects to execute through 2026.
“At a time when infrastructure has become a major point of discussion across the country, ECWA is investing in our customers’ system at historic levels that will allow us to continue to improve system efficiencies, reliability, and create system redundancies that will prevent a catastrophic event from occurring in the future,” continued Schad. “But even with this unprecedented level of investment much more is needed to adequately address the needs of our customers’ system, and we will continue to work with our partners in state and federal government on providing funding assistance to help mitigate the impact on customer rates over the long term.”