Tiered Water Rates

Support Water Efficiency & Conservation

Durham implemented its tiered rate structure effective fiscal year 2009. Each year, the Department of Water Management evaluates the rates to determine if increases are necessary. If approved by City Council, new rates are reflected in August bills for monthly customers and September bills for bimonthly customers.

The tiered rate structure has 5 tiers for single family residential customers, based on water usage/consumption. All non-residential customers are set at the Tier 3 rate, and all irrigation accounts are set at the Tier 5 rate. Water and sewer service charges are also a part of the billing structure.

To find out more, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions about Tiered Water Rates.


Tiered rates are designed to reward customers who use less water by charging the lower rates for water used in the lower tiers. The more water a customer uses, usage moves into the higher tier(s) resulting in higher charges for water use. Sewer charges are billed at a flat rate for all customers. 


The rate tiers reflect what the City charges for 100 units of water as shown on bills. Each unit is 1 cubic foot, or 7.48 gallons. A customer using 400 units over the 2-month period would be charged at the Tier 1 rate. A customer using 1,200 units over the bimonthly period would be charged at the Tier 1 rate for the first 200 units of each month. That would change to the Tier 2 rate for the next 300 units of each month. The customer would then be charged the Tier 3 rate for the remaining amount used each month.


Rates help pay for large capital projects including the automated meter reading system, a new elevated water storage tank, additional water supply options (such as Jordan Lake), interconnections with other utilities and plant and system rehabilitation projects.

Determine Your Tier

Want to determine your rate based on your current water use? Use the city’s online calculator and have your current bill handy. Fill in the following information: billing frequency, meter size and consumption to determine charges at each tier level.

More Information

For more information about the rate structure along with water saving tips, you may call Durham One Call at 919-560-1200 or the Department of Water Management at 919-560-4381, or contact us via email.


View our current water and sewer rates.