File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead Water District customers will be paying more for water under a new rate structure adopted today by the Riverhead Town Board.

At the same time, the water district has imposed use restrictions on its customers, prohibiting irrigation during peak household water use periods — from 5 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. — and requiring customers to comply with an odd/even day irrigation schedule.

The new rate structure reduces the gallonage included in its customers’ minimum service charge, increases the per-thousand gallon overage rate, and assesses a capital improvement surcharge on all customers.

The quarterly minimum service charge for residential customers will remain essentially the same (increasing by 10 cents from $10.90 and $19.90, depending on meter size, to $11 and $20, respectively.) But the amount of water that quarterly minimum buys will be cut by roughly half.

Residential customers have 3/4-inch, 5/8-inch and 1-inch meters and are billed quarterly. Commercial customers have 1 1/2-inch, to 10-inch meters and are billed monthly.

The district’s 6,115 residential customers with 3/4” or 5/8” meters will pay an $11 minimum service charge per quarter (up from $10.90) but the water consumption included in that fee would be reduced to 2,000 gallons from 4,000 — an annual increase of $96. The overage rate of $1.73 per thousand gallons will remain the same for 2020.

The district’s 5,284 residential customers with 1” meters will pay $20 per quarter 5,000 gallons — up from $19.90 per quarter for 9,000 gallons — an annual increase of $112. The overage rate of $1.73 per thousand gallons would remain the same for 2020.

Both types of residential customers will pay a capital improvement surcharge of $20 per quarter — $80 annually.

The district’s commercial customers, currently paying monthly minimum service charges of $12.80 to $125 per month, depending on meter size, will see their monthly minimum service charges rise and the volume of water the minimum charge buys decrease — by 30% to 50%, depending on meter size.

The $1.73 per thousand gallons overage rate will not increase in 2020, though the district is proposing an 8.7% overage rate increase over the next three years — to $1.78 per thousand gallons on June 1, 2021, $1.83 per thousand gallons on June 1, 2022 and $1.88 per thousand gallons on June 1, 2023.

Customers outside the Riverhead Water District tax area are billed at a contracted flat rate of $1.98 per 1,000 gallons in addition to the minimum service charge. The flat rate will increase to $2.15 per 1,000 gallons under the new rate structure.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.