Current Utility Rates
Water, sewer and surface water (stormwater and drainage) are vital to our community’s quality of life and economic vitality. The City has an adopted Water, Sewer and Surface Water Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that looks closely at the Utility’s capital infrastructure needs.
Rates are intended to keep pace with ongoing operational costs and pay for ongoing, long-term repair, replacement and improvement of the Utility's aging infrastructure on a preferred 'pay-as-you-go' basis. The typical single-family residential customer in the City with water, sewer and stormwater services pays about $2.81 more per month in 2017 to support those Utility operations, maintenance and improvements.
To view the typical combined utility bill of a residential customer in Vancouver in comparison with other local and regional jurisdictions, click here.
A full listing of current Utility rates, fees and regulations for all levels of service can be found in the City of Vancouver's Municipal Code Title 14. Below is a brief summary for our single-family residential customers.
Each water customer pays a monthly base charge and a volume charge, based on the amount of water used in a billing period. All volume charges are computed per hundred cubic feet or CCF. Vancouver's typical single-family residential customer uses about 8 CCF. (1 CCF = 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons.)
All real property located in the City of Vancouver contributes drainage runoff to and/or benefits from the city’s surface water (stormwater/drainage) system. Property owners pay monthly charges, which cover operations and maintenance of stormwater facilities and capital expenditures for surface water improvements. For single-family residences inside the City of Vancouver, this drainage charge appears on your regular water/sewer utility bill.
Sewer service charges for residential customers are based upon that customer's winter water usage, either in the previous November/January billing period or in the previous December/February billing period. There is a minimum base rate of 3 CCF per month, or 6 CCF over the two-month billing period. (1 CCF = 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons.) The City of Vancouver offers a waiver to this minimum sewer flow base rate for seniors who meet low-income and age requirements. (Read about the waiver and get the application form here.)
Frequently Asked Questions about rates:
Where do my Utility dollars go?
Your Vancouver Utility dollars go to pay for the operations, maintenance and the extensive, interconnected systems that provide the community with safe, clean, reliable drinking water, sanitary sewer and stormwater (drainage) services. Vancouver’s Utility is funded by and managed for its customers. The Utility is responsible for about $600 million in critical infrastructure assets, such as pump stations, well fields, reservoirs, underground pipes and treatment plants. Rates also pay for the electricity, chemicals, materials, supplies and labor needed to run those systems.
How does the City Utility pay for taking care of the pipes, pumps and other infrastructure in which customers have invested?
Rate increases for 2017-2020 were approved by the City Council, following a public hearing, in November 2016. In addition to keeping pace with operating costs, the adopted rates allow the Utility to use ongoing revenues, not added debt, to replace aging infrastructure and make required repairs and improvements. That ensures your Utility can continue to meet the needs of today and tomorrow, taking care of and improving the infrastructure that serves our entire community. This goal of paying for ongoing needs with ongoing revenues is often called a pay-as-you-go approach. Debt financing, on the other hand, results in greater costs to the Utility and its customers because of interest and other costs associated with borrowing money.
What is a utility tax?
A utility tax is a tax levied on the gross operating revenues of a utility, whether it is a separate entity within the boundaries of a city or the city’s own utilities and service area.
Do I pay utility tax now on my water, sewer and storm water utilities bill?
Yes. This is a tax on the gross receipts of the Utility that is shared with customers.The 24.9 percent tax is included in the monthly charges you pay for utilities services even though it is not itemized on your bill. Utility taxes go to the city's general fund to pay for fire, police and other core services. As of 2016, 1.5 percent of the tax is dedicated to maintaining and improving the streets we have. On April 1, 2017, a 3.4 percent tax increase, approved by City Council, went into effect to support Vancouver Police.
Do other cities have utility taxes?
About five years ago, in an Association of Washington Cities Utilities & Tax Survey, 213 cities reported imposing utility taxes, some as high as 40 percent and some as low as 1 percent.
Where can I find information about City of Vancouver utility rates for commercial, industrial and government customers?
Please check the City of Vancouver's Municipal Code Title 14 or visit the page listed below for general information. For questions specific to your account, please contact a Utilities Services customer representative at 360-487-7999.
Rate comparison chart (11 KB)
General Info about Billing & RatesAdditional information about how your water, sewer and stormwater/drainage services are measured and billed: Residents Water: For most residential customers, water meters are read and bills are mailed bi-monthly. Water bills are based on your water usage, measured in cubic feet.