The average Andover water customer’s bill will increase nine percent to an average of $494.69 in the fiscal year beginning July 1 under rates approved by the Andover Select Board Tuesday.

Chair Alex Vispoli said the Town committed to aggressively replacing its water mains seven years ago following locally-famous “brown water episodes.” He said the increase could have been significantly higher if the town was not “fortunate enough” to have an agreement to provide water to North Reading.

“Obviously, nobody wants to see their rates go up, but we need to invest in the water system,” Vispoli said before the board unanimously approved the rate plan.

The higher rates are part of a five-tier plan outlining water rate increases through Fiscal Year 2029 and replaces a three-tier plan the Town adopted in 2019. Under the current plan, water bills would have risen 3.5 percent in FY 2024 from the current year’s average of $453.77.

Over the life of the proposed plan, the average Andover water customer will pay an additional $307 for water through Fiscal 2028 than they would have under the current plan. In both plans, water rates increase with consumption.

At the water rate plan’s first reading before the select board on April 12, Town Manager Andrew Flanagan told the select board, which also serves as Andover’s board of water commissioners, the older rate plan would not cover a spike in the cost of chemicals and construction costs for the Town’s accelerated water main replacement program. The Town has 12 years until the replacement program is finished.

“We’re playing a little bit of a game of catch up in terms of the water enterprise” capital improvements, Flanagan said.

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