Mansfield Reports Record Month of Water Usage

It's been a busy few weeks for the City of Mansfield's utility billing department, fielding a whole lot of calls from residents upset with their higher water bills.

"The call volume has tripled," said Jeff Price, Assistant Director of Utilities for the City of Mansfield.

So has water consumption, Price said – which in turn has fueled the spike.

Mansfield residents used approximately 540 million gallons of water last month. That's the highest amount ever recorded for a September.

They attribute the increased usage to the unusually dry weather in July, August, and September – and the absence of drought restrictions this summer.

"We can't pump additional water through a meter," said Price. "It will only go as fast as consumers use it."

Other cities and entities across Tarrant County are dealing with similar issues. It's why they're now banding together and urging customers to pay closer attention to their water usage.

"So far this year, only six weeks were recommended for twice per week watering," said Dustan Compton, Regional Conservation Program Manager for the Tarrant Regional Water District.

They've started sending crews to people's homes to check sprinkler systems and go over their bills.

"We take every customer call seriously and we give it the full attention it always deserves," said Sally Mills-Wright with Arlington Water Utilities.

New, high-tech water meters in the ground allow them to break down how much water a person is using hourly. They can use the information to help determine if there is a leak, or if a sprinkler system is running longer or more frequently than it should be.

"People just don't really realize how much water they use when they water their lawn," said Mary Gugliuzza, spokesperson for the Fort Worth Water Department. "Especially when it happens during the night when they're sleeping."

They stress that contrary to popular belief, they would prefer to see customers' bills go down – because that would means there's more water left to go around.

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