Water Rate Hikes and How to Avoid Paying More

Our water rates rose last month in the Metro Phoenix area. The hikes were implemented in March 2017, and during the medium and high rate use months will cost even more.  In fact, during June-September, these rates will rise another 30% above the cost during the low-use months. But, the truth is, you can still save money on your water bill if you consider these options to help lower your water usage:

Even a small leak should be repaired promptly.

Even a small leak should be repaired promptly.

Find any leaks

Finding a leak in your plumbing usually only requires a little bit of sleuthing. Start at the meter. Your meter has a dial on it, and if the dial is moving even a small amount, it means that something in your house is using water. If all of the devices in your home are shut off, and that little dial is still moving, you’ve got a leak.

Sometimes you can see a leak and sometimes you can’t. In order to find a leak, you’ve got to find something that looks or smells different.  In the case of a toilet, you can use food coloring in the tank, just a few drops. If the water in the toilet bowl begins to change color, it means your toilet is leaking. 

If you smell a musty odor or find a damp spot beneath a sink, the leak should be repaired right away.

Another very common leak is a leak in the landscape. Look for an oasis--a spot where the lawn or plant material grows faster than the rest. If you don’t see anything obvious, start at the irrigation box when the system is on and see if it contains any water, which is a sign of a leak. Walk around and check each sprinkler head and drip head and valve until you find the broken one. Sometimes, you can see the odd watering pattern, such as a spray which is lower than the others (because the water is gushing out from the leak). Sometimes, a leaky bubbler or emitter will have a wet spot next to it after the others are dry or there might be a sunken spot where the soil has been displaced by running water if the leak is from a broken pipe.

Water saving washing machines take longer to wash the clothes but use less water.

Water saving washing machines take longer to wash the clothes but use less water.


Newer washing machines and dishwashers are designed to operate under low water use conditions. For example, newer washing machines can save up to half of the water use, and newer dishwashers use as little as 20% of what it takes to wash dishes by hand. Even if you have an older model washing machine, you can still skip the extra rinse, and use the lowest water setting needed for the number of clothes.


WaterSense label fixtures are the heroes of water usage. The faucets use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute as opposed to 2.2 gallons per minute without a reduction in performance. They have similar reductions in shower head fixtures, low-flush toilets and other items.

 Economy of consumption

Being aware of our water consumption is one of the most effective ways we can reduce our water usage. As the price of water continues to rise significantly higher than the consumer price index, we have to be the guardians of our wallets and our limited water resources.