Exciting news: Last week I finally got my water bill: Only 2000 gallons used last month! This is the last of three that will be averaged to determine our sewage charge.
Ok, not quite what you were expecting, but don't forget who's writing this.
When we moved to this town and set up our water/sewer service I was told that since we had no water consumption history (we had a well until this house), we would be charged for our sewage based on the national average water consumption for our household size. Mind you, they only measure to the thousands place, so it is not precise.
The US national average, believe it or not, for a family of five is 6000 gallons per month. SIX-THOUSAND-GALLONS OF WATER EVERY MONTH!!! I remember being outraged that people could use so much water. I believe I even wrote a blog about it then. Surely we did not use that much, so I was interested to find out what our usage was going to be.
As it turns out, making a new house one's home requires a bit more water than normal. The first month we used 5000 gallons. I was disgusted and resolved to get that under control. We implemented the 8-minute shower limit again. All were reminded to shut the water off while brushing their teeth. We installed a very low-flow toilet in one bathroom with plans to do the same in the other two. We filled the dishwasher to capacity before running it. The clothes washer is an HE so we didn't change the usage there, but I did try to put a stop to the kids wearing their clothes once and throwing them in the laundry (the preferred method of picking up their rooms).
Our usage the second month was 4000 gallons. I then had to decide what was acceptable. Even though 4000 is way better than the national average, I was pretty sure we could keep it down to an average of 3500. Catching the kitchen faucet water in a bowl and using that to water plants helped some, as did putting cleaning water in a bowl to carry with me and rinse in instead of running the faucet to rinse out my sponge between wipes.
The third bill came and was a mere 3000 gallons. VINDICATION! When the fourth came in at 4000 I was fine, remembering that 3500 average was my goal.
Then one of the toilets was running. It was very inconvenient to turn the water pipe off after every use, and my husband couldn't get to it right away. We spent the month listening to the water run in that bathroom. Then that month's bill arrived. 10,000 gallons of water had slipped through that pipe and through the sewer system. I felt like one of those cartoon drawings where the person becomes stiff-limbed in mid air with bloated eyeballs and hair standing on end, mouth agape. The city even sent their meter reader out a second time to check if that was right, for they had noticed our usual lower consumption and thought they may have misread the numbers. You can be sure that we were on that task the very next day!
So, perhaps now you can understand my excitement at this latest water usage bill.
I confess, I am VERY pleased with our conservation efforts!