By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
With the hot summer weather comes high water use and bigger than expected water bills.
Water companies and municipalities are using technology to keep customers informed about their water consumption.
The City of Bend and most domestic water suppliers charge a monthly base fee and a consumption rate for the amount of water used.
In Bend, the base charge for a 1-inch connection is $27.15 per month.
That same customer is charged just under 2-cents per cubic foot of water consumed, so people who water more to keep their lawns and gardens green will pay more.
“Our automated metering takes a timestamp every hour,” Dan Denning, City of Bend’s water conservation program manager, said. “It takes a meter read, that’s how we get the water consumption to bill for. In addition, it can alert us when there is constant consumption if water isn’t shutting off.”
If water isn’t shutting off at the meter, that often indicates a leak. Even a small leak can add up to big water loss and a high water bill.
Fixing household leaks can save money. Thanks to technology, water companies can alert customers via text or email leaks are detected.
“That lets customers take action before there’s too much water going through the system that could result in water waste or damage to their home or property. It’s a really great tool, especially during these summer months when everyone is irrigating”
In the past year, Denning says the city notified customers of 11,000 leaks.
“A lot of people are really thankful,” Denning said. “They weren’t aware. For some people there’s a little bit of follow up as far as trouble-shooting where that leak might be. In general, that’s going to save people money during the winter when it comes to their winter quarter average for indoor usage and it’s going to help them in the summer months.”
Even during the drought, Denning says the City of Bend’s water system is in good shape because it has two sources of water to draw from: surface water from Bridge Creek and groundwater as needed.