Flushing the toilet may cost New Yorkers nearly 13% more in coming months due to a water rate hike proposed today by the Department of Environmental Protection [pdf here]. The increase, which would raise the average apartment dweller's annual rate from $470 to $513 and single-family homeowner's from $723 to $816, will take effect July 1st and be the fourth of its kind in four years. That is, unless the six public hearings scheduled for May attract enough disgruntled New Yorkers to make some darn persuasive testimony in opposition.

"Clearly it is hard on customers to pay more, especially during tough economic times," acknowledged DEP commissioner Cas Holloway in a statement, but added "NYC's water is safe, healthy and high in quality. Keeping it that way requires substantial investments." It's true, we've got some of the best stuff around. 13th best nationally, in fact.