Murray Man Shocked To Find Water Rates Increased By 51% As Part Of City’s Push For Conservation

Aug 3, 2018, 5:32 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

MURRAY, Utah – A homeowner in Murray opened his second water bill of the summer this week, and it made his blood boil. He’s using about 10 percent less water this summer, but he’s paying 50 percent more.

“It’s not like we’re using too much water, we’re just simply trying to keep our yard green,” said Alma Hansen, who has lived in Murray more than two decades, more than 10years in his current home.

Murray Water changed it’s billing to a five-tiered structure this summer to comply with a state law aimed at encouraging conservation. The more you use, the more it costs, with the rates rising exponentially. The public works department detailed the changes and the costs in a flyer sent to all Murray Water customers in April.

Alma and Karen Hansen are passionate about their beautiful yard: a large grass lawn adorned with beautiful islands of flower arrangements, tall trees and even a couple of rows of corn. They spend hours manicuring the property that measures two-thirds of an acre, and the surge in cost was just too much for them to accept.

“I am not a water waster,” Hansen said.

He has installed a high-tech irrigation system he controls with his phone, and said he has honed in on the right amount of water.

This month, their water bill was $662, and Hansen knows it will be about the same next month. That’s a 51 percent increase over last year.

“The last two bills I have we’re both more than 50 percent higher than they were last year,” he said.

Hansen understands the rate changes, and the new tiered structure, but said that “it just seems unfair to me that they can just arbitrarily decide that now we’re going to charge you an extra $300 to $400 a month penalty for simply trying to water my lawn.”

“He’s obviously been used to using a lot of water,” said Danny Astill, Murray Public Works Director.

Astill took a look at Hansen’s bill with me and said he uses four times more than the average Murray water user, who should be seeing about a 10 percent increase this summer.

“Most of his water usage is going to end up in that very highest tier,” he said.

That’s the most expensive water.

“It’s all based on conservation,” said Astill.

If he wants to pay less, the water manager said, Hansen will have to cut back.

“Slowing that flow just a little bit more,” he said.

That will be difficult, said Hansen.

“I’ve done everything in my power just because I don’t want to pay extra if I don’t need to pay extra,” he said.

Astill said he’s eager to send some of his staff to meet with Hansen “to have our people go out and meet with him and see if we can help figure this out for him.”

A tech from Murray Water will work with him on strategies to reduce his bill.

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Murray Man Shocked To Find Water Rates Increased By 51% As Part Of City’s Push For Conservation