NYC Property Owners Could See Their Water Bill Rise by 8.5%

New York property owners may get hit with an 8.5% increase on their water bills, the biggest hike in nearly 15 years, in large part because of huge fees charged to the city’s water board by the Adams administration.

Typically, water rates cover the cost of operating the boroughs’ vast water system, from drinking water to sewers. But this year, covering a “rental payment” the Adams administration is imposing is one of the biggest drivers of the hike; some other factors include inflation and capital plan-related debt service. The mayoral administration has the right to request the rental payment as part of leasing it's sewer and water system to the Water Board.

The Office of Budget and Management included over $1.3 billion worth of rental payments to be paid by the Water Board to the city between Fiscal Year 2024 and Fiscal Year 2028 in the current proposed budget and forecasts.

The cost of covering the rental payment means some of what customers pay on their water bills will be routed to the city instead of going back into the water system.

The return of this payment will require the water system to divert funds from its own operations and debt service to pay the city for things completely unrelated to the delivery of clean water,” he said.

The looming rate hike comes just as DEP calculated what it’d cost to make the areas of the city most vulnerable to flooding from heavy rains more resilient: $30 billion. At current funding levels, that could take three decades.

The DEP is working to improve stormwater resiliency in the hopes of lessening the impact of flooding on very rainy days.

The concrete jungle doesn’t absorb much water, and much of the city’s sewer system is on average designed to handle just 1.75 inches of water per hour. In 2023, there were five storms that dumped about that much rain on the city.

The DEP is working to expand nature-based interventions that absorb, retain or convey water to prevent flooding — like rain gardens —as well as construction projects to increase sewer capacity. The agency is also pursuing new projects that can handle massive amounts of water, such as a sunken basketball court project in Jamaica, Queens, and contemplating installing more Bluebelts throughout the boroughs. You can read more here.

Water isn’t a topic we often think about, however it is a crucial component of city planning. We will continue to keep you updated on topics that affect New Yorkers.  


Warm regards,

Stacey Froelich 

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