How much water are you using? (July 30, 2015)

A friend sent me this screen shot from a Facebook group this morning. It’s perfect because it’s typical of the complaints I’ve seen from persons who claim their water bills are too high.

Shelly Thompson Ferrato

Now, I don’t know Shelly Thompson Ferrato, and I’m not a member of the group to which she posted this message. I sent her my reply by private message, so maybe she’ll be exposed to information from the other side.

Here is what I sent her:

Dear Shelly Thompson Ferrato,

Usually, when someone says they’re paying a lot for water, I ask, How much water are you using? I think I can guess in your case, though.

Let’s start with the fact that the drought surcharge started July 1st, and if you just received your bill, that means it probably runs from the end of May through the end of July. Thus, half your bill is not covered by the drought surcharge. If I understand matters correctly, you can determine how much water over someone is by dividing the surcharge by the charge per unit, which I believe is $2.845 per unit. (Each unit is 100 cubic feet of water, or 1 CCF on your bill). This means that you used 34 units to which the surcharge applied on this bill. (Unless you change things, it will be double that on your next bill.) You get 32 units before the surcharge, so I’m guessing you used somewhere between 90 and 100 units in two months. That works out to 67,320 gallons in two months. That works out to just over 1,100 gallons each and every day. Just so you know, my wife and I use 6 units or so each billing period, so you use three times as much water every two months as we do in a year. This may be why your water bill is high.

If you’re using that much water, yeah, your bill is going to be high. If you’re NOT using that much water, that contact Ranchos IMMEDIATELY to have them conduct a water audit.

By the way, the Town of Apple Valley has already said it is not going to be lowering water rates, so it will not be your savior. You, however, are in the perfect position to lower your water usage and your water bill starting today.

cc: Barbara Oliver Curtis, Diego A. Ortega, Dennis Tromblee

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.