Rate Proposal Would Keep the Cost of Water in New York City Well Below the National Average

May 10, 2021

Administration’s commitment to lower rental payments has retained more than $1 billion in the water system, keeping rates affordable while ensuring funding for critical drinking water and wastewater projects including the completion of shafts for the Brooklyn/Queens leg of City Water Tunnel No. 3 and the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today proposed a 2.76 percent increase in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) water rate to the New York City Water Board. The proposed rate would keep the cost of water in New York City below the national average. Since Mayor de Blasio made the commitment to return the rental payment to the water system, more than $1 billion of ratepayer funds have stayed in the system, helping to fund critical programs while keeping rates low for property owners and businesses. The proposed rate increase is subject to review and approval by the Water Board.

The proposal also expands by $10 million—a 50 percent increase—the Board’s existing affordability programs for low-income homeowners and multi-family housing properties that are expected to benefit as many as 96,000 small property owners and 48,000 affordable apartment units, respectively, reflecting up to an additional 45,000 new customers and up to an additional 8,000 affordable apartment units. In addition, the proposal recommends freezing the minimum charge at $1.27 per day for the sixth consecutive year for those customers who use fewer than 90 gallons per day.

“Thanks in large part to Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to return the rental payment to the water system, in addition to effective management of DEP’s operations and the system’s balance sheet, we are able to fully fund the City’s critical drinking water and wastewater systems while keeping the cost of water in New York City below the national average,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “In addition, we are extending savings to as many as 96,000 low-income, senior, and disabled customers, as well as providing bill credits to keep up to 48,000 multi-family housing units affordable.”


If the 2.76 percent water rate increase is adopted by the Board:

  • A typical single-family homeowner will see an increase from $967/year to $994/year for water and sewer bills—an increase of $2.22/month (based on an average consumption of 70,000 gallons of water per year).
  • A typical multi-family unit with metered billing will see an increase from $718/year/unit to $738/year/unit—an increase of $1.65/month (based on an average consumption of 52,000 gallons of water per year).

DEP is focused on maintaining a package of rates and billing policies that keep costs at a reasonable level for customers facing affordability challenges. A number of billing policies emphasizing rate affordability are expected to be expanded for FY22:

  • The Home Water Assistance Program will be expanded by $8 million to provide an increased bill credit of $145 to up to 96,000 low income households. Customers do not need to apply or take other action to receive the credit, since DEP and the Water Board work with other governmental entities to identify eligible properties. The program was first introduced for FY 2015, and has been presented to the Water Board for reauthorization and a funding expansion in FY21.
  • The Multifamily Water Assistance Program, which provides a bill credit of $250 per affordable residential unit, will be expanded by up to $2 million to include up to 48,000 units located in multifamily properties with at least fifteen years remaining on a rental affordability agreement with either the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development or the NYC Housing Development Corporation. The program was first implemented for FY 2018, and has been presented to the Water Board for reauthorization and a funding expansion in FY22. The ranking formula first introduced in FY 2019, that allocates credits by assigning a preference to the most affordable units, based on area median income, would continue to be used in FY22.
  • Freezing the minimum charge. Customers who use less than 902 gallons per day are billed at the minimum water charge of $1.27 per day, including wastewater charges. DEP proposes to freeze the minimum charge for the sixth consecutive year at the FY 2014 rate, benefitting many single family homeowners, including many senior citizens. For customers billed based on the minimum charge, the annual water and sewer bill is $464 per year.

In addition, Mayor de Blasio is not requesting a Rental Payment from the water system for FY22.


NYC water rates are approximately 20 percent below the average for the thirty largest U.S. cities.


The Water Board is responsible for considering and adopting water and wastewater rates following the proposal and subsequent public hearings. The New York City Water Board has scheduled two public hearings via conference call for the upcoming FY22 water rate proposal:

  • Tuesday, June 1 at 12pm: 347-921-5612, access code 107181687#
  • Wednesday, June 2 at 6pm: 347-921-5612, access code 875205402#

The public is welcome to submit written testimony or comments to the Board by email at nycwaterboard@dep.nyc.gov, or by mail to NYC Water Board, 59-17 Junction Blvd., 8th Floor, Flushing, NY 11373. Following the public hearing, the Water Board will meet later in June to consider and adopt FY22 rates; new rates would become effective on July 1, 2021.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.3 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.