A number of North Texas communities have seen increases in the number of complaints from residents about higher than usual water usage. So where does our water come from, what are possible causes for higher water bills, and what can residents do to reduce their water consumption?
The City of Cedar Hill, like other cities in the Dallas area, buys water from Dallas Water Utilities. The charge for water service that residents pay covers the cost of the water and the infrastructure to deliver fresh water and process sewage. No tax dollars are spent on the water/sewer system. It is a separate function, funded by the fees charged to business and residents, based on their consumption.
The City has not raised water or sewer rates since 2013. We take the responsibility to provide pure, clean drinking water seriously. We are nearing the completion of a city-wide upgrade to residential and commercial water meters that more accurately measure consumption at each location, and automatically report that information on a system that residents can view online to see their consumption on an hourly basis.Ongoing checks of the meters and the system show 99% accuracy.
This project replaced old, inefficient equipment with modern upsized equipment that can handle today’s higher system demands. The project automates meter reading for better accuracy. The new meters allow greater flow rates to handle and measure higher water volumes. Plus, the system gives users the ability to monitor water use online, frequently and easily.
Many of the older meters were prone to sticking open during high demand, unable to accurately meter high volume flow.In these cases, water was flowing through the meter, but the meter’s measuring unit did not capture the flow and the customer did not get billed for all of the water used.
Finally, older meters are simply wearing out. Many of the older meters can achieve only 70 to 80% accuracy. New meters are almost 100% accurate, and allow approximately 25% more water flow
This year we had one of the wettest spring seasons ever, followed by very hot temperatures and near-drought conditions. During the spring, businesses and residents had no need to turn on their sprinkler systems, but by mid-June lawns had become starved for water. Heavy usage can drive up water bills.
A conservation mind set
Although lakes are still brimming with water from the exceptionally wet spring and many communities have relaxed watering restrictions, consumers should continue to make water conservation a priority.
What to do if you are experiencing higher water usage
Residents with sprinkler systems are encouraged to monitor their water flow while sprinklers are on and compare to times when they are not sprinkling to understand just how much water their system uses.
Consumers should also be alert for leaks. If not quickly addressed, they can waste a lot of water.
As stewards of our community’s resources it is our honor to serve residents and businesses with the safest and most efficient water system possible.