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Raleigh Utilities Dept. Says It Needs More Money To Cover Reduced Consumption

A picture of running tap water.

Raleigh's Public Utilities Department wants the City Council to consider raising water rates to cover infrastructure upgrades.

But even though the area's population is growing, the city is not getting more revenue through water use. Carman says conservation minded citizens using more efficient appliances have cut household water use almost in half.

“We've been adding 20,000 to 30,000 people in our service area every year, and yet our water consumption has remained flat,” Carman says. “The cost of running the utility, whether we're running at 100-percent capacity or 50-percent capacity are just about the same.”

Raleigh raised household monthly water rates by about $3.50 four years ago. Carman says the city needs another three dollars a month.

“At the end of the day, a municipal public utility does not make a profit. We just make enough revenue to cover our costs.”

John Carman says the city needs new water pipes, adding that one installed in the 1880s is still operational, but nearing the end of its “useful life”.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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