Water Rate Information: Facts & Resources

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The City of Hillsboro Water Department carefully manages drinking water rates, and strives to ensure equity and affordability for all customers. Water rates are designed so that all customers, including residential, commercial, and industrial users, pay their fair share based on how they use the City’s water system and how much water they use.

Water Rate Questions & Answers

Visit the Water Rates Q&A webpage with answers to commonly asked water rate questions, including: 

  • What do water rates fund?
  • Does each customer pay the same base fee and use fee?
  • What are the main factors driving water rate increases?
  • Are affordability resources available for water customers living on a fixed income?
  • How does the water portion of the City of Hillsboro’s Utility Bill compare locally and nationally?
  • Are rebates offered for purchasing and installing water-efficient appliances? 

No Water Rate Increase in 2018

The Water Department has shifted its rate adjustment schedule to better align with other City of Hillsboro services that are included on the City’s Utility Bill. For this reason, there will not be a water rate adjustment in 2018. Any approved adjustment would go into effect February 1, 2019, and again early each year thereafter.

Proposed 2019 Drinking Water Rate Adjustments

In 2018, the Water Department completed a draft Water Rate Study and Cost of Service Analysis. Based on the results, these proposed 2019 water rate adjustments – separate for each customer class – have been calculated:

Retail Customers

Wholesale Customers

  • City of Cornelius: 9.2%
  • City of Gaston & LA Water Co-Op: 10.9%

For more information on proposed 2019 water rate adjustments for each customer class, click the applicable links below:  (links coming soon)

Primary Factor Influencing Water Rate Adjustments

The main factor contributing to Hillsboro’s water rate adjustments is the significant investment in bringing an additional water supply source to Hillsboro – the mid-Willamette River at Wilsonville. The Willamette Water Supply Program (WWSP) is currently designing and building a new, state-of-the-art, seismically resilient water treatment plant, reservoirs, and more than 30 miles of large-diameter transmission pipeline traveling north from the Willamette River, through Sherwood, and supplying customers in Hillsboro and those served by Tualatin Valley Water District.

The City of Hillsboro and the Tualatin Valley Water District are partnering on the project with an estimated cost of more than $1 billion. Both agencies are using a combination of methods to jointly fund the project, including cash reserves, borrowed money repaid by customers over an extended period (bonds), System Development Charges (SDCs) paid for by new development, and current customer rate increases.

To support the completion of this project, it is anticipated that customers will experience annual water rate increases at least through 2026. The project eventually will stabilize customers’ water costs and make the City of Hillsboro’s water supply more secure. Long-term public financing will be used to stretch the debt out over time and allow future water users to contribute to the costs of the project.

The upper-Tualatin River will continue to be Hillsboro’s primary water source, but the City anticipates the need for twice the amount of water currently available in the next 25 to 50 years. The mid-Willamette River source will support growth and ensure an adequate supply of safe, high-quality drinking water for Hillsboro residents and businesses for the next 50 years and beyond. Learn more about Hillsboro’s second water source.

Future Water Rate Projections

The draft 2018 Water Rate Study and Cost of Service Analysis also projected future water rate adjustments – separate for each customer class. Each year, the projections will be extensively reviewed, likely adjusted, and subject to a thorough public input process before water rate increases are considered by the Hillsboro Utilities Commission. A  link to future projections will be available soon.

Water Rate Public Hearing & Input Opportunities

The Hillsboro Utilities Commission will host a Water Rate Public Hearing on Tuesday, November 13, at 6:30 pm in Room 113 at the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 East Main Street. 

At the hearing, the Utilities Commission will invite community input regarding the proposed 2019 water rate adjustment for all rate classes served by the Hillsboro Water Department, including residential, commercial, and industrial customers.

If you are unable to attend the hearing, questions and/or comments can be submitted until 12 pm, Friday, December 7. Here’s how:

Next Steps 

November 13, 2018: Water Rate Public Hearing at 6:30 pm in Room 113 at the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 East Main Street.

November 16, 2018: Response to questions, comments, and concerns shared at the Water Rate Public Hearing will be available on this webpage. Community members can request a mailed copy by calling 503-615-6543 or sending an email.

December 7, 2018: Public input regarding the proposed water rate change will be accepted until 12 pm on Friday, December 7, 2018:

December 11, 2018: The City of Hillsboro Utilities Commission will vote on any proposed water rate adjustment at the Tuesday, December 11, 2018, regular monthly meeting at 1:30 pm in the Hillsboro Civic Center Conference Room 207. Members of the public are welcome; however, public comment will not be taken at this meeting (see public input opportunities above).

December 11, 2018: Results of the City of Hillsboro Utilities Commission vote on any proposed water rate change will be posted on this webpage.

February 1, 2019: If approved by the City of Hillsboro Utilities Commission, any water rate adjustment will take effect on this date.