Charting Our Nightmare Water Bill

The folks at DC Water have had trouble updating our account since we closed on a new house in January. They figured it out recently, though, and we got a four-month bill over the weekend. It was a whopping $460. This, even though our previous bills with the agency — in a comparably sized rental house down the street — were typically $30-50 a month.

There must be a mistake, right? I called the agency this morning and got a data dump of our daily meter readings (yes, they have the technology to capture this daily, but they have trouble moving customers).

Armed with the data, I built this interactive line chart, which shows our daily water usage in the last 97 days. Notice the spike in mid-March. The city says we used 30,000 gallons of water in a four-day period, or about 80 percent of our overall use since January. (We average about 420 gallons a day with these outliers. If you remove the spike, we used about 80 gallons per day).

Clearly, something went wrong:

See larger, interactive version made with Highcharts.

8 thoughts on “Charting Our Nightmare Water Bill

  1. 30,000 gallons in four days: That’s crazy and would be difficult to do even if you had a fair-sized yard and were watering non stop.

  2. I notice that all the peeks fall into weekend except the February 8. What went wrong on these weekends? Weather? Moving?

    • The huge spike was actually over the week of March 18, and we can think of anything different about our water use. (We don’t have a pool or sprinklers or a basement tenant, so it’s confusing). The smaller spikes on weekends are understandable because we’re home more, catching up on cleaning and laundry, etc. Thanks for reading!

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