Your water bill: Rate hikes vary widely across the region

Ohioans pay some of the cheapest rates for water usage in the U.S., but locally the cost for usage has increased by 72% in the past 15 years.

City and county water operators say how much and how often customers’ bills increase is influenced by issues such as inflation, chemical and operational costs, maintenance and infrastructure upgrades.

The City of Oakwood will be the latest city in the region to increase its water rates for its residents when prices go up next year, a move Dayton made each of the past two years.

Fairborn raised its rates earlier this year and is expected to do so in both 2024 and 2025. Springboro has frozen water rates since 2018 and Troy’s last rise in costs for customers was two years earlier.

Those two cities may be exceptions, according to annual survey results of 60-plus jurisdictions. Water rates increased more than 70 times since the start of 2022, with hikes in some cities — like Dayton — happening twice, documents show.

And the cost of delivering water has made prices go up dramatically in some cities.

Yellow Springs and Piqua top the list of cities surveyed in the region about costs. Yellow Springs charges on average $319 a quarter based on a rate of 22,500 gallons of water used by a customer over 3 months. Piqua charges $287 a quarter on average.

The lowest rate, according to the 2023 survey of cities done by the Piqua Utilities Department, is in Union or Oakwood in the Dayton region. Those two cities charge $83 a quarter on average.

“Infrastructure condition and age are an enormous part of how we identify projects and how high of a priority they are,” Montgomery County Environmental Services Spokeswoman Megan O’Leary said. “Based on this priority schedule and how much it will cost to repair/replace sections, that is a factor in how we determine our rates.”

Montgomery County sets the rates for about 85,500 customers in more than 10 jurisdictions, including Centerville, Kettering, Miami and Washington Twps. and Riverside.

Greene County does the same for Beavercreek and Beavercreek Twp., Bellbrook, Sugarcreek Twp., outlying rural areas, and sections of Centerville and Kettering, said Mark Chandler, county sanitary engineering director.

Infrastructure’s “age or condition plays a huge role in budgeting factors,” he said.

Greene County has had four water rate increases since 2012, the most recent one coming this year, Chandler said.

The annual regional survey done by Piqua shows an average water rate increase of 5.4% in 2018. From 2019 to this year, the average hikes were 3%, 4.2%, 2.6%, 2.88% and 3.85%, respectively.

Dayton’s water rates climbed 9% this year due to inflation, “increased chemical costs and continued investment in the water distribution system and the water treatment plants,” city spokeswoman Toni Bankston said.

Nationally, Ohio is tied for 12th lowest with New Hampshire and Kansas for water rates, according to the West Virginia, California and Oregon have the highest rates while Wisconsin and Vermont the lowest, that website states.

In the Ohio regional survey, Oakwood has been among the eight lowest since 2013, finishing in the top four six times, including each year since 2021, documents show.

Oakwood produces its own water, and operates and maintains a distribution system, City Manager Norbert Klopsch said.

Oakwood has pipe connections to Dayton and Montgomery County systems as a back-up, but these are “only used at the very rare times when we have a situation where we are unable to produce our own water,” Klopsch said.

Before its 2017 water rate hike, those fees were last increased in 1994, he said.

“Our water system is fully automated, which keeps our labor costs low. We do not need employees working 24-7 to operate the system,” Klopsch said.

“Also, our capital improvement expenses have been modest over the past couple of decades. We anticipate that capital improvement expenses will increase over the next decade or two as the infrastructure ages,” he added.

Future projects are also being cited among reasons for Fairborn water rate hikes, city Finance Director Annetta Williams said in the DDN survey.

“The water and sewer funds are enterprise funds that must remain self-sufficient to maintain operations,” she said.


The following rates were compiled by annual surveys done by the cities of Oakwood and Piqua. Rates are based on 22,500 gallons or 3,000 cubic feet of water in a three-month period effective annually as of March 1.

Year Average/mean High Low

2023 $151.90 $318.75 $63.00

2018 $129.43 $305.70 $54.89

2013 $103.97 $197.97 $54.90

2008 $88.28 $142.95 $39.00


The following is a list of area cities’ current rates. Rates are based on 22,500 gallons or 3,000 cubic feet of water in a three-month period as of March 1, 2023.

City water rate/last increase

•*Beavercreek: $130

•Dayton: $122

• **Centerville: $172

•Fairborn: $106

•Huber Heights: $131

•**Kettering: $172

•Oakwood: $83

•Miamisburg: $210

• Piqua: $287

•Springboro: $161

•Trotwood: $191

•Troy: $134

•Yellow Springs: $319

*Served by Greene County.

**Served by Montgomery County.

SOURCES: City of Piqua Department of Utilities and the Dayton Daily News.

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