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.

2019 Drinking Water Rate Adjustments

On December 11, 2018, the City of Hillsboro Utilities Commission has approved separate water rate increases for each customer class for 2019.

The Utilities Commission’s decision includes changes to water rates proposed for three customer classes: Multi-Family Residential, Commercial, and Public Entities. Instead of the initial proposed 19.1 percent increase, rates for these customer classes will be phased in over the next two years at 14.7 percent overall. This comes after receiving input from many members of the Hillsboro community during the rate setting process.

Water rate adjustment amounts were approved without changes for Single-Family Residential, Nonprofit, Industrial, and Irrigation customers, as well as the cities of Cornelius and Gaston, and the LA Water Co-Op (wholesale customers).

Hillsboro Water Department
Customer Class

Proposed 2019
Water Rate Increase

Approved 2019
Water Rate Increase
(effective Feb. 1, 2019)

Single-Family Residential

5%

5%

Nonprofit

6%

6%

Industrial

8.5%

8.5%

Multi-Family Residential

19.1%

14.7%

Commercial

19.1%

14.7%

Public Entities

19.1%

14.7%

Irrigation

20%

20%

City of Cornelius (wholesale)

9.2%

9.2%

City of Gaston & LA Water Co-Op (wholesale)

10.9%

10.9%

All water rate increases will go into effect on February 1, 2019. The changes will be applied specifically to the water portion of the City of Hillsboro Utility Bill, not the sanitary sewer, surface water, or transportation utility fees managed by the City of Hillsboro and Clean Water Services.

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

Water Rate Questions & Answers

Visit the Water Rate Frequently Asked Questions 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?

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 additional water source.

Water Rate Public Hearing & Input Opportunities

The Hillsboro Utilities Commission hosted 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. Approximately 15 members of the public attended.

At the hearing, the Utilities Commission invited 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. Three members of the public provided input to the Utilities Commission.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or concerns expressed at the Water Rate Public Hearing were made available on the Water Rate FAQ webpage on November 16, 2018.

Public Hearing Materials

Water Rate Questions