Wichita Falls Has Highest Water Bill In Texas

Wichita Falls Has Highest Water Bill In Texas

     Wichita Falls is topping the list in a new study released by LawnStarter of Texas cities that pay the highest water bills. The data pulled from the 40 largest community water systems in Texas to determine the ranking.

The study shows the annual bill for Wichita Falls is nearly double that of the Texas average. The research was based off of a resident using 60,000 gallons of water per year, around 5,000 per month.
Based on that criteria the study found a Wichita Falls customer would spend $516.43 per year. That’s nearly double the state average of $288.43.
“I wouldn't say it’s a surprise,” said Jim Dockery, Deputy City Manager for the city of Wichita Falls. “We've had to raise water rates fairly significantly a couple of years ago to react to the dry and the drought.”
The survey also looked at the 500 biggest community water systems in the nation, that average came out to $337.60.

“The main cause of our water rates being higher is because our consumers are using much less on average than other cities,” said Dockery.

He said the drought and water improvement projects like the Indirect Potable Reuse project, and the long-term water source of Lake Ringgold, forced the rates to skyrocket.

“People are using less water and what that means is that as you have lower demand for water yet you have relatively fixed costs you have to charge more,” said Dockery.

Dockery said the data didn’t take into account every factor that goes into the bill prices. While cities lower on the charts charged less, customers also use twice the amount of water.

“I looked up some of them, for instance, Carrollton, Denton, Midland, all three of those systems those consumers average 9,000 gallons a month, where in Wichita Falls its more like 4,000 gallons a month,” said Dockery.

On average, Wichita Falls residents use only 48,000 gallons of water per year, while areas like Denton use 109,000 gallons per year, according to Dockery.

However, regardless of the factors that play into the cost, residents said their bills are outrageous.

 “It used to be that I feared my electric bill, but now I fear my water bill,” said area resident Eric Norris. “I'm sure there's a lot of people that feel this way.

That is, when his bill shows up.

“We got our water shut off with no notice,” said Norris. “We woke up one morning to do the dishes and there was no water.”

He said not only are his bills high, but should he fail to make a monthly payment, his $70 water bill could bounce up to $120.

“Water is a basic necessity of life and they’re holding us hostage by the faucet,” he said.

Other area residents Newschannel 6 spoke with also said they’ve been receiving their bill late. Dockery said he is unaware of any type of large problem with billing, but he said if your bill doesn’t show up, make sure you call the city utility department. You can face fines if the city has to turn the water off and back on.

On top of Wichita Falls paying the most for water, residents of the city, on average, are also bringing home less money per year. Click here to check out the study.

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