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Stormwater Utility Charges – Frequently Asked Questions

 What is the Stormwater Utility Service Charge

Stormwater Utility Charges – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is stormwater?

    Stormwater is any form of precipitation, such as rainfall or snowmelt, which accumulates and flows across developed and undeveloped surfaces. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, which drains into either the storm sewer system, or a surface water systems like our arroyo and river channels.


  2. What is the the stormwater utility service charge?

    The stormwater utility service charge was established in 2003 as a dedicated and sustainable funding source that provides for operation, construction and maintenance of stormwater facilities, for stormwater system planning, and for compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.


  3. Why is it increasing?

    The City currently has an estimated $30 million in unfunded drainage improvements that will be funded through this charge. Go to to see upcoming projects.


  4. When will the fee be in effect?

    You will see the stormwater utility service charge increase on your water bill starting in January 2020.


  5. What are the new rates?


  6. Where is the money going?

    The funding can only be used for:

    • Improving drainage in flood prone areas

    • Improving the existing storm drain system

    • Constructing new drainage systems

    • Erosion control or restoration projects

    • Stormwater public education

    • Operations and maintenance of the municipal drainage system

    • Meeting compliance regulations

    • Water-quality testing

      The stormwater utility service charge funds will be used to support the estimated

      $30 million worth of drainage improvements needed throughout the City.


      The City of Santa Fe has approximately:

    • 1500 Inlets

    • 600 Outfalls

    • 1800 Culverts/Stormwater facilities

    • 1000 street cleaning miles

    • 80 miles of arroyo and channel


  7. I will have difficulty paying the additional amount. What can I do?

    The City of Santa Fe offers a low-income credit for residential refuse, sewer, stormwater, and water service charges. Credits are based on National Poverty Income limits published in the Federal Register:



    Those that are currently receiving assistance will rollover, so if you qualify now you will continue to be assisted without additional paperwork.


    Customers may be exempt from monthly stormwater utility service charges if they meet the following:

    • The customer is the head of the household residing in the residence being assessed

    • The household's gross annual income does not exceed one hundred twenty percent (120%) of the most recent federal poverty guidelines

    • The customer shall submit documents as required by city policy in order to verify income

    • Any person filing an affidavit requesting exemption of the charge consents to any reasonable investigation and substantiation by the City of the facts stated in the affidavit.





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