Still want the option of watering your lawn between October and May and not getting stuck with high water and sewer bills?
Columbus City Utilities officials say special meters that separate irrigation from the rest of a home’s water and sewer service are an answer amid the dry weather that persuaded some people to start watering in May, a month before the downward adjustment of bills.
A one-time payment of $218 to the utilities office purchases and installs the meter, usually within three weeks, City Utilities Director Keith Reeves said. The only other cost is the plumbing hookups, which residents are responsible for themselves.
The meter could pay for
Residents pay $6.67 per 1,000 gallons of water for the sewer portion of their bills and $1.61 per 1,000 gallons for water. The irrigation meter would separate the accounting for the water used outside, likely leading to a greatly reduced sewer portion of the bill.
The city instituted a discount period years ago to spare people the extra expense of watering lawns or gardens between June and September. But this year proved to be an anomaly, with dry weather driving people into watering a month early. The water/sewer bills that resulted for some customers were so high in some cases that hundreds of people called City Utilities to complain.
The Utilities Board will ask the City Council on July 2 to retroactively count May as a discounted month and credit accounts accordingly. City Utilities stands to lose about $150,000 in revenue as a result of the credits, Reeves said. May will remain a regular billing month, which means watering out of season will continue to pinch budgets in the future.
Unless customers have the irrigation meter.
“We’ll read both meters,” Reeves said, referring to the regular water meter and the special irrigation meter. “It’s not a problem.”
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