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City water rates increasing in 2018

With the start of 2018, Dickinson's water rates will increase 17 cents per 1,000 gallons.

This is a normal increase for the city, which purchases its water from the Southwest Water Authority, Linda Carlson, deputy administrator, said.

"They're based on the Southwest Water rates," Carlson said. "When they put in an increase, we reflect that increase in the citizens' rates."

An increase of 10 to 20 cents is normal, Carlson said.

The impact will be minimal for the average resident, Gary Zuroff, public works director, said.

"An average water utility bill, we look at an equivalent dwelling unit is 5,000 gallons in the wintertime," he said. "If you're in an equivalent dwelling unit and use 5,000 gallons a month, you would see an 87 cent increase in your utility bill."

Water usage has decreased this winter, but increased drastically in the summer.

"We have seen a slight decrease in the winter months in the last couple of years because of the decrease of the motels and hotels," Zuroff said, "but this summer in July was the highest usage of water Dickinson has ever had on record, close to 6 million gallons in one day. The daily usage record was exceeded in July."

The public works department makes an effort to keep costs down, Zuroff said.

"We have increased collection system costs with the additional water tanks and booster stations, but we're trying to stay within our current rate structure," he said.

Further increases, though, are a possibility in the future, Zuroff said.

"We're going to try to keep these costs as low as we can," he said. "If the cost of the water for us to purchase increases, of course, we'll pass those on to the consumer. Hopefully, we can stay, on the collection side, within the budget we have, but also our costs do increase on a yearly basis. Hopefully we'll keep them down."

The new water rates take effect Monday.

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