Questions continue on high water bills in Austin

Water system meter (KXAN Photo)
Water system meter (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — From the solar panels on his roof, to his electric car, Ray Pena has gone “green.”

“I’m all about saving and conserving.”

Ray says that includes water. So you can imagine his surprise when he received his August water bill.

A man who lives in Southwest Austin shows us the spike in his water bill in August 2015.
A man who lives in Southwest Austin shows us the spike in his water bill in August 2015.

“I’m paying $20 a month then it goes up to $283, it’s more than ten times the amount,” says Ray.

Austin Water increased rates twice in 2015, but Ray says that doesn’t account for the dramatic change in the amount of water used. In July, his bill shows he only used 3,200 gallons but in August, it spiked to more than 26,000 gallons.

“I haven’t done anything different, but my bill is just still high,” says Ray.

Ray’s bill shows he used 11,000 gallons in August of 2014. Ray believes he used the same amount of water this past August, yet the city said he used more than twice as many gallons.

“Well there’s definitely something wrong,” says Ray.

Ray’s now documenting the readings on his water meter so he has proof, in case he gets another unexpectedly high bill.

We contacted Austin Water to see if they could explain the spike on Ray’s water bill, but we have not heard back.

Last year, water rates went up in January and then again in November. The more gallons of water you use, the more you pay. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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