Why Are Atlanta Water Bills So High?

Every year, leaks waste more than 10,000 gallons of water in the average home. A leak inside or outside your home is a common source of high water costs. It is your obligation to fix these leaks.

How much does the average Atlanta water bill cost?

  • For 2009 and 2010, Black and Veatch, an engineering, construction, and consulting firm, examined residential water and wastewater bills in 50 large cities for three different quantities of use: 3,750 gallons, 7,500 gallons, and 15,000 gallons. The average monthly rates for 7,500 gallons and 15,000 gallons in Atlanta were the highest. The total cost of the bills was $154.30 and $327.70, respectively. In the 3,750-gallon category, Atlanta came in second to Seattle.
  • In 2010, Raftelis, a Charlotte-based consulting business, assisted in the completion of a research for the American Water Works Association. Among the 30 big systems analyzed, Atlanta’s wastewater rates were the highest. Among such systems, the city ranked fourth in terms of water rates.
  • A survey of water pricing for 30 of the nation’s largest water and sewer systems was done by Circle of Blue, a network of scientists, journalists, and professionals. In Atlanta, a household of four using 150 gallons of water per day had an average monthly cost of $126. Santa Fe, New Mexico, was a distant second, with an average monthly bill of about $243.
  • According to a survey done by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Atlanta had the highest average yearly residential charges among 24 cities studied in March 2008, at roughly $1,500 or $125 per month. Atlanta has the highest average commercial rates, at more than $16,000 per year, by far.

Atlanta voters have twice approved a 1% sales tax referendum for water and sewer improvements, both by large percentages.

Experts warn that water and sewer prices are growing faster than inflation across the country.

In the cities Circle of Blue studied, average water bills climbed by 9% in the previous year. Cities claim that treating water, purchasing it from wholesale suppliers, and paying staff costs more money, and that they are passing those costs on to customers, according to the organization.

Water and wastewater tariffs have each climbed by an average of about 5% in large cities since 1996, according to Piper Brandt, Raftelis’ chief operating officer. Another reason governments are hiking fees, according to Brandt, is that consumption is decreasing as consumers conserve water and use more energy-efficient appliances. Governments, according to Brandt, had below-market prices and are now trying to catch up.

Atlanta has the highest monthly bills in most categories, according to the evidence we’ve seen, none of which has been disputed. Atlanta is usually second when it isn’t first.

Users in Atlanta may not want to raise a glass of water to this one, but Smith’s allegation appears to be accurate. We give it a True rating.

Why is my Georgia water bill so high?

Unseen or unfixed leaks can waste hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons of water. Check your plumbing for leaky faucets, toilets, and exterior taps and irrigation lines on a regular basis. If you have a leak and are receiving a high water bill, you can apply for a bill adjustment once you have documentation of the repairs. Please visit our Leak Adjustment page for additional information on leak adjustments.

What is the typical Georgia utility bill?

The average monthly energy cost in Georgia is $126.38, according to a 2017 estimate from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). That’s $14.71 more than the $111.67 national average.

The Peach State’s average monthly utility prices place it in the middle of the pack when compared to its neighbors. Georgia’s average is greater ($123.30) than Tennessee’s, but lower than South Carolina’s ($140.80) and Alabama’s ($142.55). South Carolina and Alabama have the highest energy bills in the US, except from Hawaii ($149.33).

How much does a typical water bill cost?

In July, Auckland water prices will increase by 7%, bringing the average annual household water bill to $1224.

Watercare, the council-controlled organization in charge of the city’s water and wastewater services, authorized the additional rates today.

Auckland Council is also proposing a 6.1 percent rate hike beginning in July, with a climate-action targeted rate of 2.4 percent to fund new and frequent bus routes, native tree planting, and other emissions-reduction measures.

The past 12 months have been difficult for Watercare, according to chief executive Jon Lamonte, with Covid-19 driving up operational expenses and inflation driving up construction prices.

What is the average Cobb County water bill?

Cobb Water System customers are invoiced for water and sewer usage on a monthly basis. The water meter is read once a month to measure the amount of water used.

The Water System’s revenue may be transferred to the County’s General Fund up to 10% of its total revenue. Please see the What is the County’s policy on water fund transfers? | Cobb County Georgia webpage for more information.

Rate Adjustment Effective January 1, 2022

Cobb County Water System has requested that the Board of Commissioners accept a rate change that will take effect on January 1, 2022. The request was made during the board meeting on September 14, 2021. The most recent rate hike occurred in September of 2018. Due to decreased revenues and rising operational expenses, as well as planned infrastructure upgrade projects, a rate rise is required.

The Water System’s revenues in FY20 were $12 million lower than in FY19. Our revenues are tracking about the same as they were in FY20 through June 2021, so we are not seeing the revenue recovery that we had hoped for. While our sales have decreased in recent years, our operational expenses have increased due to the following factors:

  • The cost of water per 1,000 gallons purchased by the Water System has increased by 4.5 percent, with another 2.5 percent increase expected on January 1, 2022. (The Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority acquires drinking water from the Water System and delivers it to our retail customers.)
  • Biosolids disposal expenses increased dramatically in FY19, and they have continued to rise. In FY18, we spent $3.8 million on biosolids disposal. We now pay approximately $9 million per year. (Biosolids are the solids left behind from wastewater treatment.) Currently, biosolids are disposed of in landfills.)
  • Chemicals used in the wastewater treatment process have seen a 20% increase in price.
  • The cost of water and sewer pipe, as well as other components, has risen dramatically in the last year.

The Water System funds major enhancements to our water, sewer, stormwater, and wastewater treatment infrastructure in addition to everyday operations. Over the next two fiscal years, we expect to grant almost $140 million in capital improvement projects. A rate change is required so that we can continue to repair old infrastructure and ensure that our wastewater treatment plants process and clean wastewater before releasing it to the Chattahoochee River and Allatoona Lake, reducing water outages caused by main breaks.

Our average residential customer uses roughly 5,000 gallons of water per month and pays $49.42 plus a $7.00 base rate for water and sewer service.

This is the lowest rate in the Atlanta Metro region, and it’s far lower than the rates in most other large counties. The rate adjustment will result in a monthly increase of $5.43 for the average residential water and sewer user. Customers who consume less than 5,000 gallons of water will see a smaller rise. Our rates will remain the lowest in Metro Atlanta even after the rate modification. Customers will pay about $1.20 for 100 gallons of water to be withdrawn from Allatoona Lake or the Chattahoochee River, purified, delivered to their homes, removed once used, treated to a very high standard, and returned to either Allatoona Lake or the Chattahoochee River cleaner than when it was originally withdrawn so it can be used and enjoyed again.

A comparison of current and proposed water and sewer costs to other utilities in the metro Atlanta area is provided below.

Note that the Cobb rates indicated are our Unincorporated Rates, which cover stormwater services as well. The only other rates listed that also fund stormwater services are those of the City of Atlanta.

How can I terminate my Atlanta water service?

You will need to discontinue your service if you are moving or selling your home.

Otherwise, even if you are no longer living on or using the property, you will be responsible for any water usage.

Use the Stop Water/Sewer Service Request form to request service disconnection, or if you have an online account, you can disconnect service through the DWM Customer Payment Portal.