Utility Officials List Reasons for Sharp Spike in Water Bills

- City utility officials says a household with a single conservative person averages between two and three units of water each month and one unit equals 748 gallons.

So,  if you see a sharp spike in the number of monthly water units used, what could be the reason behind it?

City utility officials say there are several reason a person's water bill may spike which could range from a leak to the misreading of the water meter. But it could also be from thefts.

Since Wichita Falls in Stage 5 drought catastrophe, using this, unless it's connected to well water, is not allowed but this could also be a target for water thieves who set their sights on your outdoor faucets.

Anita Leick was recently looking after a home while the owner was away for two months and says she saw her friend's water bill spike and she believes water thieves are the reason for the usage increase.

"I noticed it went from one unit to 11 units and this is a single person living in a single home with no pool, with no sprinkler service, no nothing," Leick says.

While city utility officials say water thefts are possible they say it's difficult catching thieves in the act. However, utility officials do say a spike in water usage is typically caused by three things.

"First one would be a miss read which would be on us.  We will reread read your meter if that's necessary.  The second possibility is a leak and a lot of people have leaks.  A third possibility is something got left on and ran for along period of time," explains Garry Capron, utility collections manager for the City of Wichita Falls.

Gary Capron says a city reader re-checked the woman's meter and found the reading to be accurate. While the city is not saying the woman was the victim of water thieves Anita Leick says a city worker told her husband that water thefts are happening in Wichita Falls.

"She said there was nothing they could do about it besides safeguarding your water faucets," says Leick

City utility officials say a good way to protect your outdoor faucets is with a faucet lock. They're available at home improvement stores and start from around $5 and go up.

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