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.
On December 11, 2018, the City of Hillsboro Utilities Commission approved separate water rate increases for each customer class. The water rates went into effect February 1, 2019.
|Hillsboro Water Customer Class|| 2019 Water Rate Percentage Increase
|Private and Public Fire Protection||19.1%|
|City of Cornelius (wholesale)||9.2%|
|City of Gaston (wholesale)||10.9%|
|LA Water Co-Op (wholesale)||10.9%|
In 2018, Hillsboro Water completed a Water Rate Study and Cost of Service Analysis. The study reviewed the costs incurred to provide water to each customer class and recommended future water rate adjustments for each customer class.
Based on those recommendations, the proposed 2020 water rate increases – separate for each customer class – include:
|Hillsboro Water Customer Class||Proposed 2020 Water Rate Percentage Increase|
|Private and Public Fire Protection||11.3%|
|City of Cornelius (wholesale)||9.2%|
|City of Gaston (wholesale)||2.6%|
|LA Water Co-Op (wholesale)||2.6%|
For answers to commonly answered water rate questions - including what water rates invest in and the main factors determining the cost of Hillsboro’s water - open the Water Rate Frequently Asked Questions PDF.
For multi-family residential customers:
- Duplexes and triplexes served by a single meter will be moved to the single-family residential customer classification to help moderate rate increases for these customers.
- The multi-family residential customer water volume charge will be split into a Winter Volume and Usage over Winter Volume Charge, similar to other rate classifications, to provide customers with more control over the water portion of their utility bill.
- For more information, read the Water Rate Frequently Asked Questions.
For industrial customers:
- A Large Industrial schedule will be added to this classification with rates and volume charges for 6-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch meters where the total water usage at a single site is at least four million gallons per day to increase the portion of revenue derived from base charges.
The four most significant factors determining the proposed 2020 water rates include:
1. Protection of Public Health
Supplying customers with safe and reliable drinking water is Hillsboro Water’s highest priority. The state and federal governments set stringent standards for water safety. Hillsboro Water protects the water system and ensures the water delivered to local homes and businesses meets these standards, and is safe to drink and use, through:
- Source protection,
- Risk Assessment, and
- Emergency response planning.
2. Additional Water Supply
The Tualatin Valley Water District and the cities of Hillsboro and Beaverton are partnering to develop the Willamette Water Supply System as an additional water supply source.
The large scale, seismically-resilient water infrastructure project is currently under construction, and includes building:
- A new state-of-the-art water treatment plant,
- Reservoirs, and
- More than 30 miles of large-diameter transmission pipeline from the Willamette River to Hillsboro.
This new, reliable water supply, along with Hillsboro’s current water supply — the upper-Tualatin River — will support growth and provide an additional supply for Hillsboro residents and businesses for decades to come.
3. Water Treatment Production Capacity and Seismic Resiliency
In response to the need to provide additional water for growing communities in western Washington County, the Joint Water Commission (JWC) —owned in partnership by the cities of Hillsboro, Beaverton, Forest Grove and the Tualatin Valley Water District — is working to complete a multi-year water treatment expansion, improvements project, and facility plan for the JWC Water Treatment Plant.
The project addresses long-term water capacity and strengthens seismic resiliency while bringing the capacity of the plant from 75- to 85-million gallons (of water) per day.
4. Maintaining Essential Infrastructure
From treatment plants to reservoirs to pipelines, much of the system that delivers water to and around Hillsboro was built decades ago.
Hillsboro Water strategically upgrades, repairs, and in some cases replaces aging parts of the system to deliver safe, reliable drinking water to customers.
Information Session and Water Rate Public Hearing
The Utilities Commission hosted an Information Session and Water Rate Public Hearing on Monday, October 7.
During the information session, community members were invited to ask questions and discuss concerns about water rates with staff from the City's Water and Finance departments.
At the hearing, the Utilities Commission heard community input on the proposed 2020 water rate adjustments for each customer class served by Hillsboro Water. Input previously received – by phone, online, mail, and on social media – was also provided to the Commission for consideration.
Hillsboro Water and the Utilities Commission greatly value customer involvement and input.
Online and Mailed Feedback
Community members were invited to provide feedback on the 2020 proposed water rates until 5 pm on September 30, 2019, in several ways:
- In person or by mail
- By phone
- Online form
- Social media: Facebook and Twitter
August 13, 2019
Hillsboro Water presented the proposed 2020 water rate increases to the Utilities Commission at their regular monthly meeting at 1:30 pm in the Hillsboro Civic Center Conference Room 207 at 150 East Main Street. Members of the public are welcome.
August 14, 2019
2020 Water Rates public input period begins.
September 30, 2019
Public input period on proposed 2020 water rates closes at 5 pm.
October 7, 2019
October 8, 2019
At their regular monthly meeting at 1:30 pm in the Hillsboro Civic Center Conference Room 207 at 150 East Main Street, the Utilities Commission will review public feedback received after the Water Rate Public Hearing. The Commission will then take action on the proposed water rate increases. Members of the public are welcome.
October 11, 2019
Response to questions and concerns expressed during the Water Rate Public Hearing will be available on this webpage. Email the Hillsboro Water to request a mailed copy, or call 503-615-6702.
November 12, 2019
At their regular monthly meeting at 1:30 pm in the Hillsboro Civic Center Conference Room 207 at 150 East Main Street, the Utilities Commission will review public feedback received after the Water Rate Public Hearing. The Commission will then take action on the proposed 2020 water rates. Members of the public are welcome.
November 13, 2019
Results of the Utilities Commission action on the proposed water rates will be posted on this webpage.
January 1, 2020
If approved by the Utilities Commission, any water rate adjustments will take effect and only be applied to the water portion of customer’s utility bills.
View the Water Rate Frequently Asked Questions PDF with answers to commonly answered 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 the 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?