SAN ANTONIO -

San Antonio Water System Board of Trustees approved Monday the SAWS 2014 budget -- one that will require a 5.1 percent increase in the average monthly residential bill.

The Board also approved a request for 2015 rate increase not to exceed 5.3 percent.

On average, the increase is expected to amount to roughly $2.58 per month in 2014 and $2.80 per month in 2015.

“We have made $10 million in cuts to the previously proposed budget in order to keep rates as low as possible,” said Robert R. Puente, SAWS President and CEO. “We have also increased funding to our payment assistance program for those in our community most in need.”

Included in the rate increase would be the construction of a major new pipeline that would be able to move water from SAWS new desalination plant to more than 100,000 homes by 2016.

Additionally, 84 percent of the new revenue will be used to address long-term water supply and sewer system needs.

According to a release by SAWS, a five-year rate increase between 2001 and 2005 proved to be successful in San Antonio.

“While rate increases are never popular, the water needs of a growing community are important to continue attracting jobs to this region,” stated Berto Guerra, SAWS Chairman.

The funding request which will be voted by City council on Thursday will bring the larges non-Edward Aquifer water project in SAWS history, bringing water for more than 60,000 homes in San Antonio.