Water and Wastewater Rates

Effective 11/23/2016

The Lincoln City Council approved a 5% revenue increase which is effective November 2016.

The Lincoln Water and Wastewater Systems are utilities and do not receive City General Fund tax dollars. The income derived from rates pays for the maintenance and other costs involved in operating the two utility systems. In addition, a portion of this income is invested in Lincoln’s future through water and wastewater system improvements.

Residential Water Rates

Residential water bills are determined by an increasing block structure. Under this pricing formula, the more water you use, the higher the price per unit of water. Traditionally, residential water use has been a major cause of fluctuations between low winter and high summer use. The price structure’s intent is to encourage the wise use of water.

Water is sold by the unit. One unit equals 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons. Each water bill indicates how many units of water you purchased in a billing period. Lincoln’s rate structure has three price “blocks.” While water rates are based on use in a one-month period, most residential customers are billed bi-monthly. To make computing your bill easier, the chart shows price blocks on a monthly and bi-monthly basis.

Price Blocks $1.344/unit $1.911/unit $2.961/unit

For example, to compute a bi-monthly use of 49 units:

Units Times Price Equals Total
units 16 x $1.344 = $21.50
units 30 x $1.911 = $57.33
units  3 x $2.961 = $  8.88
49   *$87.71
* The water and wastewater service charge and wastewater fee must be added in to determine your total bill.
Monthly 1-8 units next 15 units all additional units
Bi-monthly 1-16 units next 30 units all additional units

In the event that Water Management Plan restrictions are implemented, Water Shortage Rates will take effect. These rates begin with Phase 1 – Voluntary Restrictions, and increase if stricter Plan phases are enacted.

For more information about signals for enacting restrictions and details about the water restriction phases, see the Water Management Plan.

Non-Residential Water Rates

A majority of non-residential or business customers use a consistent amount of water year round. As a result, the Lincoln Water System can more readily predict their water use and provide for those needs. In addition, nonresidential customers provide an economic base which is important to the development of our City. For these reasons a non-residential rate schedule was developed.

There are currently two levels of non-residential users. Customers who used less than 12 million cubic feet the previous calendar year will pay:

Price Blocks $1.344/unit $1.911/unit
Monthly 1-80 units all additional units
Bi-monthly 1-160 units all additional units

Non-residential customers who used more than 12 million cubic feet the previous calendar year are billed according to the high user schedule. On a calendar year basis, a “base usage” of each high user customer is determined. The base usage is an average of the water usage of each high user customer for the previous three calendar years. The following rates would apply:

  • $1.276 per unit for water usage less than base to 5% above base
  • $1.323 per unit for water usage 5% to 15% above base
  • $1.365 per unit for water usage 15% to 25% above base
  • $1.407 per unit for all water usage more than 25% above base

Wastewater Fee

Unlike your water bill, the wastewater fee for residential customers will not change every billing period. Under this rate system, you pay for only the water sent into the wastewater lines.

To predict how much water you use for domestic purposes, the fee is based on your winter water usage. Water you use for summertime air conditioning, gardening, lawn watering and other outdoor uses is not included.

The wastewater rate is based on a flat fee of $1.859 per unit and is the same for all customers.

For example, if you use 20 units of water during a winter billing period, then your sewer use fee would be: units 20 x $1.859 = $37.18

This fee remains the same even in the summer months when water use normally increases.

Wastewater fees for non-residential users are determined by each month’s water use. In addition, some industries pay a surcharge for high-strength waste (Refer to 17.60.050) PDF Document.

Water Service Charge

The water service charge on your bill covers the cost of accounting, billing, collecting money, meter services, etc. It also represents “an ability to serve” charge. This means that water will be supplied through public water lines large enough to meet the demands of each customer and the needs of a City-wide fire protection system.

The size of water meter determines what the service charge will be.

Water Meter Size 2016/17 Monthly Service Charge
5/8 inch $5.70
5/8 x 3/4 inch $8.62
3/4 inch $8.62
1 inch $14.39
1 ½ inch $28.70
2 inch $45.93
3 inch $86.18
4 inch $143.66
6 inch $287.25
8 inch $459.62
10 inch $660.76

Wastewater Service Charge

Like the Water System, the Wastewater System must charge for services like accounting, sewer maintenance, etc.

The size of water meter determines what the service charge will be.

Water Meter Size 2016/17 Monthly Service Charge
5/8 inch $2.80
3/4 inch $5.42
1 inch $9.65
1 ½ inch $19.14
2 inch $30.65
3 inch $57.57
4 inch $96.02
6 inch $191.87
8 inch $307.03
10 inch $441.50

Reminder to All Lincoln Water/Wastewater System Users

The water and sewer service lines from the main connection to your building, are the responsibility of the owner.

Rate Survey

A rate survey was completed by Lincoln Water System in September 2016. The rates identified below are based on a monthly bill.

Residential Customer with a 3/4" meter using an average of 11 units of water (including service charge)

11 units of water equals 8,228 gallons

Local Water
Lincoln, NE $23.97
Nebraska City, NE $28.56
Waverly, NE $28.90
Beatrice, NE $31.05
York, NE $36.93
Hickman, NE $39.00
Rural Water District #1 $50.00
Seward, NE $52.24
Bennet, NE $74.58
Regional Water
Lincoln, NE $23.97
Omaha, NE $37.25
Wichita, KS $39.30
Des Moines, IA $44.30
Cedar Rapids, IA $44.79
Springfield, MO $45.80

Residential Customer with a 3/4" meter using an average of 9 units of wastewater (including service charge)

9 units of wastewater equals 6,732 gallons

Local Wastewater
Lincoln, NE $21.23
Beatrice, NE $25.00
York, NE $25.89
Bennet, NE $36.39
Nebraska City, NE $37.39
Seward, NE $43.46
Hickman, NE $54.63
Waverly, NE $55.39
Regional Wastewater
Lincoln, NE $21.23
Cedar Rapids, IA $26.07
Wichita, KS $30.87
Springield, MO $34.28
Des Moines, IA $48.77
Missouri River WW (Omaha) $51.24

PDF Version of Water/Wastewater Rates Brochure (188 K) PDF

Rates Archive

PDF PDF format

Related Links

Lincoln Municipal Code