Wichita Falls water bills may increase by 9%

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:54 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Officials have proposed to the City of Wichita Falls a 9% increase on residents’ water bills for them to afford the increased cost in the chemicals used to clean the drinking water.

“The overall average for our chemical budget is up 43%,” Daniel Nix, Utilities Operations Manager, said.

Like many things in the world right now, your water bill may soon see a price increase. Just like other industries, water is also subject to inflation.

“Our chemical bids came in in April and we saw significant increases in chemicals,” Nix said. “Some of our individual chemicals went up, they doubled in price.”

They are rising for a multitude of reasons.

“The shipping cost, the increase in fuel, the availability of raw materials to make these chemicals,” Nix said. “Manufacturing capabilities, some of the facilities that make these are down for maintenance or have had incidents to where they have had to stop production. That all drives the price of these chemicals up.”

Nix said if there was another option they would pursue it, but these chemicals are needed to keep the water clean and safe.

“Chlorine, we use to disinfect,” Nix said. “That keeps you from getting waterborne diseases and getting sick from consuming the water. Other chemicals like calcium hydroxide and ferric sulfate clean up the water, clear it up, take out metals and organics that could cause harm over a long period of time.”

Instead of doing a steady increase on your water bill each year, they believe having a high price increase every few years is a more successful process.

“It has been successful, in that, we are able to cover the costs as they arise,” Nix said. “We are not a profit organization. We only try and charge what it takes to run this system”

After going over how much they would need to raise water bills to accommodate the increase in chemicals prices, they believe this proposed amount is the best they can do.

“We know that prices are increasing for the public in every sector, gas, food, everything,” Nix said. “We don’t want to be too onerous, so we analyzed it and we have set a rate that we think is the lowest we can set it for the citizens of Wichita Falls and still accomplish our goal of protecting the public health.”

The city manager and council will go over this proposed increase over the next two months and come to a conclusion in September on whether or not this increase will be approved.

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