Did you know the largest single use of household water is outdoor sprinklers? Our hot summer meant more watering for our North Texas yards and that means higher water use and higher water bills. It isn’t always a leak causing that higher bill.
Did you know on average a 7-9 zone sprinkler system running 10 minutes a zone can use around 1260 to 1620 gallons of water every time your sprinklers run a full cycle? If you run your system twice a day, two times a week, 4 weeks a month and your water use can be 20,000 to 26,000 gallons a month.
When it gets super hot, sprinklers may run two or three more times a week – of course that increases the monthly total use. Typically, it isn’t noticed until the water bill arrives. That extra water during the heat of the summer can be 2 to 3 times as expensive as the first 20,000 gallons-- increasing our bill to the noticeable level!!
North Texas cities sell water to homeowners at a tiered pricing level. In other words, the first 5,000-7,000 gallons are relatively inexpensive. A jump of more than double the price per 1,000 gallons is in effect over the first tier level of 5,000 gallons on up to the 20,000 gallon use. Then another increase happens for the next 20,000 and again for the next 20,000 gallons. So water use itself can become expensive. (See example below)
High water bills can also be indicative of a leak. The smart water meters deployed at our homes register water use all day long and through the night. To determine if your bill is leak or use related, do some checking. Check with your water use, online or with the city, to determine time of day the meter is registering usage. If the meter registers water use all day long, you may have a leak. If the water use coincides with your sprinkler watering schedule, your sprinklers are using that water.
You can cut back on sprinkler water use by adjusting schedules for the seasonal changes. You should always check your sprinklers for leaks (i.e. broken or missing nozzles, leaks around the spray heads, or missing heads) and proper use so you aren’t paying for water your system is leaking.
Most cities offer a leak credit program which may reimburse you for water loss if you do discover a leak and have it repaired by a licensed irrigator or plumber. Each city program differs slightly, but none of the cities reimburse repair expenses, only water loss/saved.
Remember November 1 begins the winter season water conservation enacted by our cities – one day a week watering and anytime during the day. Heads Up recommends an 11:00 am start time to capture the warmer part of the day. It is also important to water regularly in the Winter months to keep even moisture around the foundation of your home.
Water Rates Example:
Water rates as of November 1, 2018
Meter Size Rate 3/4 inch $24.51
1 inch $24.51
1-1/2 inch $108.51
Minimum charge based on meter size.
Gallons Rate per GallonFirst 1,000 gallons included in minimum meter charge
1,001 - 5,000 gallons $0.75 per 1,000 gallons
5,001 - 20,000 gallons $3.71 per 1,000 gallons
20,001 - 40,000 gallons $7.41 per 1,000 gallons
All over 40,000 gallons $8.98 per 1,000 gallons
The water charge is based on actual usage. In order to encourage conservation, the per unit charge (1 unit = 1,000 gallons) increases at higher volumes of usage.
Example: WATER $253.81
John Smith has a 3/4-inch meter with 42,500 gallons of consumption for the month.
Gallons Units Rate Total 0 - 1,000= 1.00x $24.51= $24.51
1,001 - 5,000= 4.00 x $ 0.75= $ 3.00
5,001 - 20,000= 15.00 x $ 3.71= $55.65
20,001 - 40,000= 20.00 x $ 7.41= $148.20
Over 40,000= 2.50x $ 8.98= $22.45
Total Gallons: 42,500 Water Portion of Bill: $253.81
(Information provided by the Customer & Utility Services Website of The City of Plano)
(Article by Caryn Walz LI8895|BPAT 8606 |Certified Landscape Auditor)