"It does put an emphasis back on elective use," says Ed Buchan, with the city's Public Utilities Department.
Calculating just how much it will affect individual customers is difficult, but the city says that the average household won't see much difference in its bill. Leaders believe those who use very little water will pay less; big-time residential users will pay more.
Right now, the city charges $1.96 per CCF - a unit that corresponds to 748 gallons of water. The average use is 6 CCFs per month-- or about 4500 gallons of water.
Under the tiered system approved today - and likely to go into effect in December of this year - there is no flat rate. From 0 to 4 CCFs, the charge will be $1.57 per CCF. From 5 to 10 CCFs, it'll $2.74 per CCF. And 11 CCFs and up, the rate will be $3.92 per.
"For the average customer who has the low-flow devices on, you'll actually see lower rates," says Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. "People who have big lawns and want them green should be paying the cost for it. The overall use, because the lower tier is there, means the city will not be collecting any more money, it's just how it's distributed."