Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents pay an average of around $19 more for water and sewage per month than Durham and Raleigh.
“Affordability of our services is a big thing for us here at OWASA,” said Stephen Winters, director of finance and customer service at Orange County Water and Sewer Authority. “It’s something that we are conscious of and focused on.”
The average Chapel Hill-Carrboro single-family residence pays $83.53 for 5,000 gallons of water.
The UNC Environmental Finance Center reports OWASA customers spend 1.61 percent of the median household income. Raleigh and Durham residents spend 1.49 percent and 1.41 percent of the median household income, respectively.
While officials give no specific reason concerning why OWASA rates are higher than those in Raleigh and Durham, Ed Buchan, a senior utilities analyst for the City of Raleigh, said the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department has an advantage because of the number of people it serves. Since Raleigh has a more dense population, they can spread the price of water and sewage expenses over more people.