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Water rates increasing for Central Arkansas customers

Board members with CAW unanimously approved a water rate increase as part of a plan to improve the water infrastructure in Central Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Central Arkansas Water customers can expect to see an increase in their monthly bills after CAW board members unanimously approved a 10-year schedule of rate increases.

The plan aims to improve the water infrastructure in Central Arkansas.

"Over the next 10 years, Central Arkansas Water is going to spend $700 million to upgrade our system," said Doug Shackelford with CAW.

The price of one gallon of water right now, according to Shackelford, costs a half-cent— and by 2032, it will cost one cent.

He explained that the money will be used to update the nearly 2,800 miles of water pipes in eight counties and renovate the company's largest plant in Little Rock, the Jack. H. Wilson Water Plant.

"This plant can produce 130 million gallons a year. It was built in the 60s, it's starting to show its age and we're going to put in $150 million worth of renovations," Shackelford added.

During Thursday's board meeting, two amendments were approved.

The first amendment will allow CAW to adjust the rate if it's needed.

"We realized that maybe we were going to be able to complete some of these processes sooner or at a lesser expense, it would allow the Board of Commissioners to come back and review that and determine whether or not they want to adjust the rate," Shackelford said.

The other amendment will allow CAW leaders to lower the rate to help with customer assistance.

Right now, Shackelford told us that state law doesn't allow this— but a change in the law would allow board members to make this happen.

To put the rate increase into perspective, he explained that a lot of people use about 2,200 gallons of water a month, which costs under $8— in ten years, that would cost just under $14.

The first set of rate increases will happen on July 1, 2023, and on January 1 every year until 2032.

Shackelford said that plant renovations and underground pipe repairs are set to begin immediately.


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