For the first time since 2005, Easton residents can expect to see an increase their water bills.
The increase is a reaction to the fact that water rates for two of the last three fiscal years failed to cover expendidentures for the water department. Additionally, the department is striving to meet state standards of using 65 gallons per capita day.
Water Division Operations Manager John Marsh told Selectmen Monday night that for most families the rate will only increase $1.35 per quarter.
"Nobody likes to come before the board and look for a water increase," he said. "Any family can keep it to $1.35. It just depends if they want the green lawn."
Residents using 20,000 gallons or less per quarter will only see a $1.35 rate increase. Residents using 50,000 gallons or less will see their quarterly bill rise $4.75. Residents using greater than 50,000 gallons, however could see the bulk of the rate increase. Those residents could see their bill rise by $54 per quarter.
Marsh said the rate increase came by raising the customer service charge by 10 percent and altering the amount of water allowable in each step. Previously, rates were determined for customers on a under 25,000 gallon, 25,000 - 100,000 gallon and over 100,000 gallon scale.
Marsh said a family of four can stay under 20,000 gallons if they are not irrigating their lawn unnecessarily.
"People doing the watering they don’t need to do are paying the blunt of the increase," he said.
The water division also enacted new lawn watering regulations earlier this year to meet state standards of 65 gallons per day capita state standards.
"The Water Management Act has a performance standards of 65 gallons – we did not reach that last year, that’s part of the reason for stepping up our water restrictions," Marsh said.
Currently, even numbered addresses are restricted to allow lawn watering only on Monday and Thursday between the hours of 5 a.m. to 8 am. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Odd numbered addresses are restricted to allow lawn watering only on Tuesday and Friday between the the same hours. Handheld hoses are allowed anytime.
Marsh said since the lawn watering regulations began May 1, the Water Division has given out 59 warnings but hasn't given out a ticket.