Why is My Water Bill So High?

There are many reasons why a residential home might receive a higher than usual water bill but the main reason would be an undetected leak.

Have you downloaded the Eye on Water App? Eyeonwater.com

MUD 367 has installed “smart meters” at every residence in the district in our ongoing effort to promote water conservation. Once you download the app, you will have a clear picture of your home’s monthly water usage. You can also set up the app to notify you if there is a water leak!

Here are some common leak issues:

  • Auto fills on pools are the #1 cause of leaks in our district. The valve will get stuck “on” creating a cycle of filling the pool and then reducing the water. Manual valves have been left open as well. Because you don’t see water flowing in your yard or pool, it is hard to actually identify.
  • Sprinkler systems running continuously during the night. You may think your system is running each zone once whereas the system has been erroneously set up to run both A & B, meaning each zone is being watered twice during the night.
  • If your sprinkler system has a broken solenoid valve, this will cause a constant leak. Test each zone manually to ensure accuracy.
  • A leaking toilet can waste thousands of dollars a year! The cost of a plumber to replace a faulty fill valve or flapper is approximately $100-$125. But, why not try to repair it yourself? The replacement part for a flapper is available at Home Depot and/or Ace Hardware for under $20 with Home Depot offering DIY videos on-line.
  • A leaking faucet usually can be repaired by replacing the cartridge. Did you know that Moen and Delta replace their cartridges for the life of the faucet? Once you receive the new cartridge, your licensed plumber can install with only the cost of labor.
  • Over time, water softeners can malfunction causing a steady leak.
  • Outside faucets and garden hoses may have been left on by a child or landscaper.
  • Power washing your driveway, sidewalks and back patio create a beautiful and clean environment but remember when your bill arrives that this is a huge amount of water being used.

The main reason MUD 367 sees high water bills during the summer months is that your sprinkler system is running more than necessary. Unfortunately, far too many people think they have to water every day or every other day to have a lush lawn. This misconception wastes water and actually weakens the lawn. Horticulturists say that watering the lawn deeply and infrequently is the key to forcing grass and plants to grow deep roots so they can access water for a longer period of time and thrive through the long, hot summer. Water close to the surface evaporates long before the deeper moisture. Air is forced out of soil that is continually saturated. Since roots need air, overwatering tends to promote very shallow roots.

To figure out how long to run your sprinkler system, try the Tuna Tin Test…place a series of empty, 1-inch deep tuna cans (at least 3) throughout the area the sprinkler system covers. Turn on the water for the amount of time you think is correct. Each can should have roughly the same amount of water — about 1 inch. If the cans contain less than 1 inch of water, you need to water a little longer. If the cans have an uneven amount of water, the distribution of water needs adjustment. A soil probe (available at most hardware and garden shops) can also determine how deep the water is penetrating into the soil.

If you have spoiled your lawn and landscape areas with frequent ‘soakings’, you may need to wean the area gradually to allow the shallow roots to grow.

Here are a few other important tips to consider to get you started saving water — and money — this summer:

  1. Set system to complete the cycle before 4:00 a.m. This timing will avoid the peak demand for other household uses — like showers, kitchen chores and the use of laundry appliances.
  2. Watering in the heat of day can waste up to 65 percent of the water through evaporation.
  3. Mow only when necessary. Set the mower to the highest setting during warm weather. Longer grass keeps the soil cool, minimizing evaporation and conserving water.
  4. Leave clippings on the lawn. They supply organic matter and supply one third of your fertilizer needs.
  5. Add ¼ to ½ inch compost to lawn in fall or spring. It will decrease water needs and supply nutrients to the lawn.
  6. Most importantly, WATER ONLY WHEN YOUR LAWN NEEDS IT!

Calculate Your Monthly Water Bill in Real-Time

Harris County MUD 367 has recently developed a simple water bill calculator so that residents can see what their water bill would be on any given day of the billing cycle. From the “Usage” tab in the Eye on Water app, simply look up your current monthly water usage (in thousands of gallons) and then use this value in the drop-down menu of the water bill calculator. The calculator is broken down by the same three components as your monthly water bill. The calculator can be found on the Water Bill Calculator page.

How to Read Your MUD 367 Water Bill – Updated Bill

Legend:

  1. Your service address
  2. Your account number
  3. Dates of service for this bill
  4. Date bill is mailed; about 2 weeks after meter read
  5. Your residence’s smart water meter number
  6. Date your meter was read
  7. W- water, GLS – gallons
  8. Current reading as of date – #6
  9. Prior reading at end of last billing cycle
  10. Number of gallons used in 1,000’s
  11. W- Water
  12. 12 month water usage history
  13. Previous month’s payment info
  14. Cost of sewer service
  15. North Harris County Regional Authority, pass through mandate by State of Texas billed at $4.70 per 1,000 gallons ($4.70 x #10). See www.NHCRWA.org for additional info.
  16. Cost of water used, includes trash & recycling
  17. Total due now
  18. Late payment fee if received after due date
  19. Total due if received after due date
  20. MUD 367’s Operator, Municipal Operations, address
  21. Important messages from your MUD 367 district
  22. Mail payment to this address or sign up for auto pay here.

What You Should Know About Hurricanes

MUD 367 has been proactive in annually preparing for Hurricane Season by securing the district water plants and lift stations with fully equipped generators in the event of a power outage. The district’s Operator, Municipal Operations, will be working 24/7 to ensure water is not disrupted or contaminated during a possible crisis. It is still advisable to be prepared and follow local authorities recommendations during hurricane season.

 

COVID-19 “Coronavirus” Update – Please Bag Your Trash!

TRASH: MONDAYS & THURSDAYS

In response to the continuing effects of the Coronavirus and in observance of our employee’s safety, we are asking that all waste be placed in plastic bags and tied off to avoid any direct contact with the garbage.

RECYCLING: THURSDAYS

Please continue to place your recycling loose in your container. However, if anyone in your household is exhibiting symptoms of any transmissible illness, please place recyclables in plastic bags and dispose with your regular garbage.

Trash and Recycle Services will continue as normal, but we are experiencing an increase in the amount of residential solid waste as a result of residents spending more time at home. Please be patient as we are doing our best to get everyone’s waste collected.

Green waste collection will continue; however, we anticipate delays in service. By taking the following steps, residents can help minimize these delays:

  • Mulch leaves and grass clippings instead of bagging them for disposal
  • Limit the amount of pruning and tree trimming to only what is essential
  • If utilizing a landscaping company, ensure all green waste is collected and hauled off by the contractor.

In Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Please Review the Following Information

Harris County Municipal Utility District 367’s Board of Directors is conscious of maintenance costs incurred by the District. Clogged pipes cause major problems in wastewater treatment facilities. They may also cause home plumbing issues. Residents can help maintain a working sanitary sewer system by being mindful of what they put down the drain or flush down the toilet.

The following items should NOT be put down the drain or flushed:

  • DO NOT FLUSH Feminine hygiene products in the toilet:
    Items such as tampons and feminine pads are absorbent and increase in size after exposure to water in the pipes. This causes clogs in plumbing and the District’s sewer system. These items should be disposed of in a wastebasket.
  • DO NOT FLUSH “Flushable” sanitary wipes and baby wipes down the toilet:
    Despite being labeled as flushable by the manufacturer, these products may clump up in the pipes and cause clogs. Instead of flushing these items, keep a waste receptacle by the toilet for disposal.
  • DO NOT FLUSH Cotton swabs such as “Q-tips” in the toilet:
    These items include stiff cardboard or plastic stems in the middle which can clog pipes. Also, if they do make it to a wastewater treatment plant, they must be removed from the water and hauled to a proper trash facility. This creates an extra cost for your District.
  • DO NOT FLUSH Diapers down the toilet:
    Whether cloth or disposable, infant and adult diapers should never be disposed of in the toilet. They are too large to fit through the plumbing of your home and cause blockages in District pipes that take wastewater to treatment plants.
  • DO NOT FLUSH Cotton Balls and Paper Towels in the toilet:
    These items are too bulky to fit through the pipes and will cause plumbing obstructions.
  • DO NOT FLUSH Cigarette Butts in the toilet or wash down the sink:
    Cigarette butts build up over time causing clogs and accumulate with other solid waste that should not have been flushed. These items must be hauled away to a trash facility, costing your District additional expense.
  • DO NOT POUR Cooking Grease down the drain or in the toilet:
    While hot cooking grease may seem easy to pour down the kitchen sink, it cools quickly once exposed to plumbing. Congealed grease can build up over time and create clogs.
  • DO NOT FLUSH Condoms and other prophylactics in the toilet:
    These items may cause clogs in the system and if they make it to a wastewater treatment facility, will have to be hauled to a proper trash disposal plant, increasing costs to your District.

Essentially, only wastewater and human waste should go down the drain or be flushed. Your help in adhering to these guidelines is greatly appreciated and will save your District unnecessary expenses.