Water Rates & Charges
Click here for charts showing water service and water usage charges.
The Water Usage Charge is based on how much water is used. The charge is $2.14 per Ccf, or 100 cubic feet, which is equal to 748 gallons. The type of water meter we use measures water in Ccf. One gallon of water costs less than 1/3 of a penny.
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". See the charts above or below for the charge per meter size.
Residential and smaller commercial customers are billed every three months, or per quarter, of the year. Commercial customers are billed monthly. Water charges appear with other City of Milwaukee service charges on the Municipal Services Bill.
The Milwaukee Water Works provides drinking water service, billing and meter and distribution system maintenance for Milwaukee, Greenfield, Hales Corners, St. Francis, and West Milwaukee. This is considered retail water service.
We provide wholesale water service by selling water to Brown Deer, Butler, Franklin, Greendale, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, New Berlin, Shorewood, Thiensville, Wauwatosa, West Allis, and the Milwaukee County Grounds. These communities operate and maintain their own water utilities using Milwaukee water, and they bill their customers. Contact the municipal office in these municipalities for information about water charges.
On the water usage charts, you can see the "steps" of the Declining Block Rate (DBR). This rate applies to large users of water such as commercial and industrial customers. The DBR lowers the Water Usage Charge as the customer uses larger volumes of water. This rate structure is appropriate where there is an abundant, renewable supply of water, Lake Michigan, and all water is returned to the lake. We have more than adequate water treatment and distribution capacity so there is no need to build or expand facilities to meet demand.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) approved a 3% cost-of-living rate increase effective Sept. 1, 2019.
The rate increase helps maintain the stable financial condition of the utility.The biggest factor affecting our finances is the steady decline in water use since the 1970s. Everyone’s using less water with high-efficiency appliances and industrial machinery while the utility operational costs of energy, chemicals, pipes and equipment continue to increase. What makes your water utility so unique is that all of its ratepayers own the utility. This city-owned utility does not pay a monetary dividend to shareholders. Money from rates is reinvested in the utility. Water rates, not taxes, pay the costs to run the water works. This includes purifying and pumping the water and keeping plants and pipes -- the infrastructure -- in reliable working condition.
In Wisconsin, water rates are based on the cost of service, not household income levels. Water utilities cannot charge lower rates based on income because this is considered a discriminatory practice by the PSC.
Find Public Service Commission documents at the PSC website. Enter Case number 3720-WR-107 or Utility Name, Milwaukee Water Works. Copies are available at our Customer Service Center, 841 N. Broadway, Fourth floor.
In the 2017 rate case, the PSC retained the original Rules and Regulations Governing Water Service submitted in 2002 and updated in 2007, so the information presented here remains ins effect. Charges for Hydrant, Water Connection, and Bulk Water purchase were established Dec. 15, 2014 and remain in effect. Water service permits, including permits to hook up to a hydrant or install a temporary meter, are managed by the Department of Neighborhood Services Tech Team. Call (414) 286-8208 or email email@example.com.
Are you using too much water? Do you have a leak? An average single family customer using 15 Ccf (11,220 gallons) of water per quarter will have a water usage charge of $32.10 per quarter and a water service charge of $28.05 per quarter.
Compare your water use to the average per-person water use of five Ccf per person per quarter. Multiply five 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 much more than that, you may have leaks. Visit Use Water Wisely for water-saving tips. 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.