SAWS customers voice strong opinions over rate increase

Potential water bill increases override focus of SAWS public meeting

SAN ANTONIO - A public meeting hosted by San Antonio Water System Wednesday evening at the Pan American Branch Library was supposed to be about SAWS’ plans to increase the city’s water supply. Instead, those in attendance wanted to voice their opinions about potential increases in their water rates.

“My water bill has never gone down,” said one man. “It has always gone up.”

On Tuesday, SAWS announced a possible rate increase of 7%, which amounts to roughly two to three dollars each month. It would be the first of five proposed annual increases, starting next year.

That money would help pay for SAWS’ plans to increase the city’s water supply by building a $250 million desalination plant in south Bexar County that would tap into the Wilcox Aquifer. SAWS is also considering paying to have water shipped in from other parts of Texas.

“We're all seniors. We have pensions that don't go up,” said Delia Ramirez, who attended the public meeting. “Where are we going to get this money for these extra charges that they keep sticking to us?”

SAWS Vice President Greg Flores said that the new ‘water management plan’ is necessary because the city’s current water supply is dwindling, while San Antonio is growing by about 20,000 people each year.

“Certainly no one likes to see higher bills in the future. But sometimes in order to ensure we have the water we need, we do have to make investments to bring in those water supplies,” said Flores.

Some people at the meeting suggested that in order to pay for the increase in water fees be tacked onto developers responsible for the growth in San Antonio.

Another public meeting will be held Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. in Saint Mary’s University’s AT&T Center for Technology. That is located at 1 Camino Santa Maria.

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.


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