See Lower Sewer Charges Year-Round by Being More Water Efficient During Winter Months
By Traci Peterson, Arlington Water Utilities
Posted on November 21, 2019, November 21, 2019


During the winter months, Arlington Water Utilities residential customers can stake out future savings on their city services bills by being especially water efficient. That’s because water usage during the winter months (November-February) is averaged to establish a maximum sewer charge that the customer will have in any month for the next fiscal year. This program, sometimes referred to as “average winter consumption,” has been in place for more than a decade.

How exactly do you average my winter months’ usage?

We take the water consumption shown on your December, January, February and March billings, discard the highest month and average the remaining three months to establish the maximum sewer charge that will be used from the upcoming October through the following September. If, for example, water usage was 10,000 gallons in December, 15,000 gallons in January, 8,000 gallons in February, and 6,000 gallons in March, the new average is 8,000 gallons or 8, as it displays on the bill. The January bill of 15,000 gallons would be discarded because it is the highest of the four months and the remaining December, February and March billings would be averaged.

Customers should watch their individual bills beginning in October for a message indicating the approximate dates that they will be affected. Customer with remote read water meters can see if their water conservation efforts are having the intended effect by checking their daily water usage or setting high usage alerts at

Why do you average only three of the four winter months?

Lawn sprinkling, entertaining guests during the holidays, filling a swimming pool or having a toilet leak, for example, can all increase a monthly bill. Being able to discard the largest of these bills prior to averaging the three remaining months gives a more accurate measure of water going into the sewer system.

Once I have my average, does this mean I will be charged this same amount every month?
The average winter usage is a maximum sewer volume charge. For example, if your average winter usage is 6,000 and you use 15,000 gallons of water in a month, you will be billed for only 6,000 gallons of sewer in that month. But if you use 5,000 gallons of water in a month, you will be billed for 5,000 gallons of sewer in that month. For residential customers, billed sewer flow will never be higher than water consumption.

Once I have my average, will it ever change?

Your average will be recalculated each year when we average your December through March bills. It could go up, go down or stay the same. It depends on how much water you use during those months.

Do you still read my water meter monthly?

The answer is yes if you have a traditional water meter, without remote read technology. We must read your water meter in order to determine how much water you should be billed for in a given month. For residents with remote read meters (more than half of the city and more each day), water usage readings are transmitted remotely.
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