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Portland City Council Approves 2020-21 Water Rates

News Article

Portland City Council approved a modest water rates increase for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 (July 2020 to June 2021) in a 3-0 vote. The city adjusts water rates annually on July 1. With this adjustment, the monthly water-only bill for a typical single-family household will be $44.89.

Your sewer/stormwater/waterbill is broken down into a small base charge to fund customer service, a small charge to clean up the Portland Harbor Super fund sight, and costs to maintain the water, sewer and stormwater systems

Important note: The bill that Portland utility customers receive includes water, sewer and stormwater services. Sewer and stormwater services are handled by the Bureau of Environmental Services. We’ll stick to water costs below, since that’s our area of expertise. Take a look at this handy overview of what your bill pays for: 

In the Mayor’s budget, the water-only proposed rate increase is $2.75 (6.5 percent) monthly for a typical single-family household.

The reasons for the increase follow:

  • Compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. We keep in good standing with state and federal regulations to ensure that your water is always clean and safe.
  • The ongoing cost of maintaining an aging system. More than 2,000 miles of pipe deliver water throughout the Portland area. Many of those pipes are more than 80 years old. We need to invest in our aging system.
  • The rising costs of health care, debt service, and personnel increases for represented employees.
  • Ongoing investments in projects that make our system more resilient. Portland is at risk of a major earthquake. When the “Big One” hits, we need to be prepared. That’s why the budget includes critical projects that harden our conduits, fortify our facilities, and reinforce our new reservoirs.

“In these times, we’re proud to be there for people who need it most while continuing to provide safe drinking water to all,” said Kathy Koch, Portland Water Bureau Customer Service Director. “We are balancing the need to keep water affordable while investing in an aging system that is safe and resilient for future generations.”

The Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services (the utility bureaus) offer a menu of financial assistance options for reducing or waiving portions of their bills. These include:

The City of Portland utility bureaus continue to offer all customers no-interest flexible payment schedules. The City is not currently charging late fees, is not pursing collections on all past due accounts, and will not shut off anyone’s water for non-payment during this crisis. Click the links below to learn about the different financial assistance services we offer to qualified customers. (Information on Customer Services hours of operation, paying your bill and more can be found at portland.gov/water/services/pay-your-sewer-stormwater-and-water-bill. 

Services for residential customers:

Services for all customers:

  • Monthly statements offer the option of paying each month to avoid a quarterly bill that includes three months of sewer/stormwater/water charges.
  • Clean River Rewards provide savings if you manage stormwater on your property.
  • Water Efficiency offers free water-saving devices and rebates for toilet and irrigation upgrades.

To learn more about how we can help, or to view the detailed information about these programs, click here or contact our Customer Service staff at 503-823-7770 or PWBCustomerService@portlandoregon.gov.