Use Water Wisely  wise owl image

Our customers are saving water! Our Use Water Wisely program can help you find and repair water leaks. Together, we can help you save money on your bill, reduce water waste and conserve our Lake Michigan water resource. We designed the program in collaboration with the environmental group Clean Wisconsin.

From billing data, Customer Service employees identify customers with unusually high water use and advise them on how to find and fix leaks. They then mail customers the Use Water Wisely brochure and toilet leak-detecting dye tabs. Toilet leaks are the most common culprit of higher water usage and higher-than-normal bills. Most leaks are easy to repair with parts from a hardware store. Or, call a plumber for help.

Meter Services technicians provide these informational packets as they investigate high water use cases, approximately 100 a month. The Milwaukee Water Works has a multi-year program to replace over 156,000 water meters in homes and small businesses in Milwaukee and Greenfield, Hales Corners, St. Francis, and West Milwaukee. A letter detailing meter replacement is mailed in advance of the meter exchange appointments, and it includes the Use Water Wisely brochure. Meter technicians also offer the Use Water Wisely packets as they make their calls.

In a survey of customers who returned a feedback card, 76% used the leak-detecting dye tabs, 33% found and fixed leaks in their homes, and nearly everyone, 96%, said the Use Water Wisely advice was useful.

  • The biggest leakers were toilets, 46% of leaks fixed
  • Next were leaking faucets, 31%
  • Thirdly, garden hoses and hookups, 15%
  • Only a small percentage of leaks were reported at shower heads and water heaters 

Sewer charges
The Milwaukee Municipal Services Bill includes 10 charges for City of Milwaukee services and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) services. The city’s drinking water utility billing system manages the billing and forwards the collected charges to the City Treasurer for distribution to other city departments and the MMSD.

Cost of leaks
Sewer charges are based on how much water you use. The City of Milwaukee Local Sewerage Charge and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) Sewer Treatment Usage Charge are based on the amount of water that passes through your water meter, whether you consumed the water or it dripped, leaked, and was wasted down the drain. A toilet that runs all day and night will waste 200 gallons per day, at an additional cost of about $51.50 each billing quarter or over $206.00 each year! 

How do I know that I have high water use?
The typical person in Milwaukee uses 10 Centum cubic feet (Ccf) of water per quarter. Multiply the number of people in your household by 10 to give you the number of Ccf of water used in one quarter (for example, 4 people x 10 = 40 Ccf). If you are using much more than 10 Ccf per person per quarter, you might have something leaking in your home. (Look at your Milwaukee municipal services bill, which comes out quarterly and lists your water usage in Ccf.)

Large fluctuations in use could indicate leaks. Expect increased water use during warm weather months if you water your lawn and garden, fill a pool, or wash your car frequently.

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