Drainage Charge

The drainage fee has been revised, and the new calculations take effect on November 2015 bills. Find out more about the current drainage charge. Continue reading for information on how the drainage charge was assessed in Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

Residential Drainage Fee Prior to November 2015

The Watershed Protection Department is funded in part by the drainage fee, which appears on City of Austin Utility bills. It was $9.80 a month for most residential customers, including single family homeowners and those in multi-family buildings that have fewer than seven stories of residential development. Structures with seven or more stories of residential development are defined as vertical construction. For customers in vertical construction, the fee was $4.90 per dwelling unit. Customers can apply to receive a reduced charge based on need through the City’s CAP Discounts, or can seek financial assistance through local service agencies that administer the Customer Assistance Programs on the City’s behalf.

Commercial Drainage Fee Prior to November 2015

The commercial fee was based on the actual amount of impervious cover on the land parcel. Impervious cover refers to developed areas that do not absorb rainwater and generally increase runoff and associated pollutants. Buildings, driveways and parking lots are examples of impervious cover.

The rate was $242.16 per impervious acre per month. Fees for businesses on less than an acre were prorated accordingly. In the case of multi-tenant commercial properties, individual customer charges for drainage were assessed on a pro rata basis when square footage information iwas provided to the City.

Commercial businesses that had well-maintained flood or water quality ponds that reduce the impact of rainwater and pollution could apply for a 20 percent reduction in their drainage charge. The definition of a “well-maintained” pond varies significantly depending on the design of a pond. At a minimum, a well-maintained pond must function properly with no obstructions of the inlets and outflows, have appropriately-maintained vegetation, and comply with all applicable operation and maintenance requirements in the City of Austin’s Environmental Criteria Manual. (Note that the pond discount has been discontinued as of November 2015.)