BY: Kathleen Ferris

Aim Low: Make Tiered Water Rates Work For You

Published Apr 06, 2015

Are you paying more for your water than your neighbor? It's a real possibility.

All 10 AMWUA member cities have tiered residential water rates. That means the more water you use, the more expensive it gets. Tiered rates encourage conservation, and allow your family to measure its water savings.

Since some cities expect water rates to increase in the next couple of years, residents will find this information increasingly valuable. The tiered water rate system is a little different for each of the AMWUA member cities of Avondale , Chandler , Gilbert , Glendale , Goodyear , Mesa , Phoenix , Peoria , Scottsdale , and Tempe . Some cities charge more or less for each tier depending on the season. Here is how tiered water rates work in the City of Peoria.

Peoria has four tiers of water rates for single-family residences. Costs include a fixed “base rate” of $15.54 through $18.39, depending on the size of your water meter. The majority of residential meters qualify for the lowest base rate.

  • Tier 1: If you can cap your household water use to less than 4,000 gallons in one month, you pay $1 for every 1,000 gallons. That’s right. Keep your use under 4,000 gallons a month, and you pay the base rate plus $4.
  • Tier 2: When a family exceeds 4,000 gallons a month the cost of water begins to rise. The next 5,000 to 10,000 gallons cost $2.59 per 1,000 gallons or 2.5 times the price of the first 4,000 gallons.
  • Tier 3: The next 11,000 to 20,000 gallons of water used cost $3.66 per 1,000 gallons.
  • Tier 4: Any volume above 20,000 gallons costs $4 per 1,000 gallons, 4 times the cost of first-tier water.

To stay at 10,000 gallons a month, or at least within Peoria’s second tier, a family of two would use a maximum of 166 gallons of water per day per person. For a family of four, each member would use a maximum of 83 gallons of water a day. So, did you check your latest water bill? How far over the lowest tiers are you – 5,000 gallons, maybe 10,000 or more? Now ask yourself this: Where is all that water going? Here are some things you can do that would make a significant difference in the water and money you save.

  • Check for leaks. According to EPA WaterSense, leaks cost the average home 833 gallons a month. Try the AMWUA free online Smart Home Water Guide  (also Guía para Detectar Fugas ), a step-by-step manual for finding and fixing leaks. (It’s also available as a 24-page booklet in both Spanish and English. Just call your city’s water conservation office .)
  • Check your irrigation system. In the Phoenix area, as much as 50 to 70 percent of household water is used outdoors. Examine sprinkler heads and drip systems for puddles and broken or missing emitters. There are now products on the market that can make your irrigation system more efficient .
  • Cut the size of your lawn in half. Some cities will help you pay to remove turf and replace it with low water use plants and trees. Learn how to create a garden of colorful plants, shrubs and trees that offers beauty and shade for dogs and kids and thrives with much less water.
  • Look for the WaterSense lab el. The label guarantees new fixtures and appliances will use at least 20 percent less water than traditional products and perform equally well or better.

Want to learn more about saving water and money? Your city has a conservation program and experts to help.

For 45 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit