Temperatures are rising in the Panhandle and so are water bills. According to the Pronews 7 Facebook page, when asked ??What their water is worth?? and the cost of their water bills, some residents replied with disgruntled responses regarding the jump in price.
??With summer approaching, we are seeing higher water bills, mainly because of the sprinkler systems. And it depends on how much you water, and how big your yard is. And we??re not justs eeing small increases. Once those sprinkler systems come on, we can see a 30 to 40 thousand increase,?? said Michelle Bonner, the city of Amarillo??s assistant city manager.
One resident showed us her bill and how within a month, the cost of her water bill had increased from approximately one hundred dollars to four hundred dollars. She said she did not change anything and no watering had been done in her duplex. We took the bill to the city and let Bonner take a look at it.
??This is saying she used 84,000 gallons. That??s definitely very high, you would expect someone to be watering a very large yard for something like this,?? said Bonner. ??That absolutely may not be the case for this customer. If you do get a large bill, you can go out there and look at your meter and if that meter is reading more or the same as what the bill says, than you know it was a good reading. If for some reason you look at it and the meter is less, then we didn??t get a good reading and we??ll send someone out there and get and good reading and re-do the bill.??
Bonner also said that if someone disagrees with the increase in water usage or does not think that the amount on the bill has been used, they can call for someone to come and check the meter and see if there is potentially a leak in the home or outside sprinklers. She said those are very common causes of increased billing without increased water.
However, a large portion of the increase and water usage in the city of Amarillo does come from outdoor watering. In fact, in the past few days, the city has been more successful in their water conservation efforts simply because people have been shutting off their sprinkler systems due to the rain. For the past three years, on the date of June 9th, the city has used 67 million gallons of water. This year, only 33 million was used, meaning more than half of the water used in the past could be attributed to outdoor watering.
??It shows how much difference it makes and if they can back off even when it??s dry and back off to a reasonable level and method of watering outside, then they could even save parts of the water in dry weather,?? said Emmett Autrey, director of utilities for the city of Amarillo.
Tips he suggested for maintaining a nice lawn but cutting back on water were 1-being more strategic about water timing, placement, and use and 2-checking the type of grass in the lawn and trying to use a type that does not need as much water.
The city said they check all meters monthly but do know there are exceptions when they estimate on some meters. If there are any problems or questions, residents are advised to call the city.