Henderson water rates rise as Lake Mead levels fall

Joining other local water districts, Henderson approved an added fee on water bills Tuesday to help pay for a new pumping station at Lake Mead. The money will go to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, not the city.

Separately, the Henderson City Council also voted to increase its own water rates starting in 2017.

The regional water authority voted in December to borrow money to build a new, deepwater $650 million pumping station to ensure it can keep drawing water despite the falling level of Lake Mead.

The new fee, called a “drought protection charge,” will be used over 30 years to pay back the loan.

Starting next year, the “vast majority” of Henderson residential customers will pay the lowest charge, $2.41 a month, said John Entsminger, general manager of the water authority. Some with larger lines will pay up to $146.06 per month, and commercial customers will pay from $2.41 to $209.96 per month.

In 2018, the fees will top out at $4.81 a month for most residential customers.

The drought protection charge also requires approval from Clark County and the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Boulder City. The water authority expects it will take about five years to design and build the new pumping station.

Meanwhile, Henderson’s own water rates will be increased starting in 2017. By 2020, average residents will be paying $3 to $18 a year more than now, depending on water usage, the city said.

Contact Eric Hartley at ehartley@reviewjournal.com or 702-550-9229. Find him on Twitter: @ethartley.

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