Charting Our Nightmare Water Bill

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

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?

    1. 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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