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Hays commissioners OK new water rates





A tough new water billing structure was approved by Hays City Commissioners Thursday night -- one which commissioners hope will send a "wake up call" to the city's top water users.

The new second conservation tier billing structure, which will go into effect Aug. 1, will impact Hays' top 20 percent of water customers, and is intended to put the brakes on excessive outdoor water use.

During the summer, Hays' water customers use approximately 3.8 million gallons of water a day, a two million gallon per day increase from the average daily water usage during winter months. The city's current two-tier billing system, said Assistant City Manager Paul Briseno, doesn't truly address the amount of the city's water supply that's poured out on residents' lawns.

"It does not reflect our limited or strained resources," Briseno told city commissioners. "In an effort to curb water wasting and not hinder those customers that truly conserve or utilize water efficiently, we're recommending a second year-round conservation tier to be implemented to our current system."

"What we found, looking at the water data we have on our residential customers... 80 percent of our customers use water efficiently. However, we also understand that 20 percent of our residential customers consume 44 percent of our residential water."