Sunday, December 5, 2010

Every Drop Counts In A Single Income Family

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...Image via Wikipedia

Lately I've had a really sick baby. I know they get sick, but this one takes the cake! The baby is on an antibiotic that has vomiting and diarrhea as side effects. So needless to say, the water bill is going to be a little higher than I would like it to be. Fortunately for me, I've been holding onto a large glass tea pitcher that is too big for my refrigerator (It holds approximately 2.5 gallons). I just have really liked the way it looks too much to give it away. Since it has gotten cold, my eldest son indicated that we have to wait a long time for the water to warm up in the morning when he wants to wash his face. That is when the light bulb went off! I could catch and transfer the running water while I'm waiting for it to warm up, and transfer it into the tea pitcher! Then when I need to do my laundry, I just set it on the side of the washer, turn it on, and let it drain into the washer!

Now I know you may be thinking that is a lot of work...well if you do the math... 2.5 gallons x 3 people washing faces = 7.5 gallons x 2 times a day = 15 gallons a day x 30 days in a month = 450 gallons of water.  Okay, now you are going to say how does this affect your bill? Water is just a few cents per gallon. Well in Houston, you are placed into a "bracket" based on the amount of gallons of water you use per month.

If you would like to be confused, see below:

Single - Family Residential - TU 01, 02, & 03

   (Gallons)             Water Charge              Sewer Charge
     0 - 1,000                      $3.45                              $6.52
      2,000                           $8.18
      3,000                           $8.18
      4,000                          $16. 04                            $15.81

      5,000                          $19.00                             $18.77

     6,000                           $21.97                      $3.96 per 1,000 gallons
                                                                                + $1.14  fee

7,000 - 12,000                $21.97                       $3.96 per 1,000 gallons
                             + $2.92 per additional             + $1.14 fee
                             1,000 gallons over 6,000

Over 12,000                   $39.49                       $3.96 per 1,000 gallons
                             + $5.28 per additional             + $1.14 fee
                            1,000 gallons over 12,000

Note: The $1.14 fee will not appear on the bill as a separate line item on the bill.

EXAMPLES (The layman terms):

1,000 gallons $3.45 Water

(low-user rate) $6.52 Sewer

$9.97 Total / Month

7,000 gallons $24.89 Water

$28.86 Sewer ($1.14 fee included)


14,000 gallons $ 50.05 Water

$ 56.58 Sewer ($1.14 fee included)

$106.63 Total / Month

So basically, I'm paying to be in a 7,000 to 12,000 gallon per month usage. I'm using a lot of water, I know! that is why I decided to post it! The thing is, that I could be using 7,001 gallons or 11,999 gallons a month and still pay the same price for water.  This bracket is too expensive for me. So I'm hoping I can move myself down a bracket by using my outdoor rain barrel (which isn't doing so well since we haven't had a lot of rain) to water the yard and plants; and my smaller indoor (drinkable water) rain barrel to do laundry, water plants and animals, and occasionally boil eggs and noodles. Who knows, maybe I can come down to the 1,000 gallon usage bracket. I could use the additional $40 a month!
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