North Texas residents see skyrocketing water bills

Homeowners in several North Texas cities have seen skyrocketing water bills in recent months. The City of Dallas blames the weather earlier this year. Todd Unger reports.

NORTH TEXAS — Skyrocketing water bills that have shown up in mailboxes across North Texas are leaving many water users scratching their heads.

Maria Tuttle lives near Jesuit High School in Dallas. Her family's bill more than doubled recently.

"We have a neighborhood message board and email deal," she said. "It was just blowing up last week with all kinds of people talking about their water bill."

It's not just in Dallas.

Viewers from towns like Fort Worth, Plano, Garland and Anna all sent News 8 recent emails concerned about big spikes.

One woman from Anna has a bill of nearly $600, an increase of $450 over her previous bill of about $150.

Local water agencies have been hearing about the spike, and say the unusually wet spring with record rainfall, followed by a very dry July and August, created an almost "perfect storm."

"People dialed in those automatic sprinkler systems. What we believe happened is that people didn't realize how much their sprinkler systems were operating," says Janet  Rummel, a spokeswoman with the North Texas Municipal Water District.

Towns like Plano and Frisco are tapped into that district.

In Dallas, city leaders are well aware of a spike, too.

A memo sent to the mayor and city council members on Friday outlines how the weather, and the city's tiered rate structure, have caused some users to experience a noticeable hike.

"The sudden change in conditions contributed to the contrast between June's residential water bills and those received in July, August and continuing into September," wrote assistant city manager Mark McDaniel.  

The letter says bills should lower if anticipated precipitation for October through December plays out as forecast.


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