Water Use and Service Charges
Milwaukee's water rates are determined by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) and are intended to ensure the financial stability of the utility and fair value for customers. A public water utility belongs to all of us, its ratepayers. Water rates, not taxes, pay the costs to purify and pump the water and keep treatment plants and pipes, the infrastructure, in reliable working condition. As a non-profit agency, we do not pay shareholders, but continuously reinvest in our utility.
As measured by your meter in 100 cubic feet (Ccf), one Ccf (748 gallons) costs $2.08. Our meters measure water use in Ccf. How much water is one Ccf? 748 gallons. Or, consider one cubic foot is a 1’ x 1’ x 1’ box (the size rental agencies provide for packing books), so 100 cubic feet is equal to 100 of those boxes.
We bill residential customers every three months, or per quarter, of the year. Compare your water use to average per-person water use of 5 Ccf per person per quarter. Multiply 5 by the number of people in your household to see what the average total water use should be for that many people. For example, four people use an average 20 Ccf per quarter. If you have four people and you are using significantly more than that average 20 Ccf/quarter, you may have leaks. Or, you may be taking long showers, or are watering your lawn and garden regularly, or filling a swimming pool. Water use is usually higher in warm weather months because of outdoor water use.
The water utility has two charges, a Water Service Charge and a Water Usage Charge. The Water Service Charge is based on the size of the water meter. Meters sized 5/8" or 3/4" are used in single family homes and duplexes. Commercial and industrial meters range from 1" to 12". The Water Usage Charge is based on how much water you use, as measured in Ccf.