Apr 06 2014Share

What You Pay For When You Pay Your Water Bill

By Kathleen Ferris

The next time you receive a water bill remember this fact: It's the water department's job to make sure each person receives enough water at just the right pressure for a good shower at 7 a.m. The demand for water spikes about 7 a.m. in Chandler and in most Phoenix metro cities. Each shower must go on undisturbed, even if firefighters also open a hydrant to battle a fire in the neighborhood at 7:02 a.m. With every monthly water bill, Chandler and other Phoenix metro area residents are paying for a system built to meet their water demands every minute of every day.

Chandler is a city of nearly 245,000 people living on 71 square miles. Chandler’s water department is expected to create its own revenue by charging customers enough to cover its expenses and no more. This includes the cost of treating and delivering 56 million gallons of drinking-quality water every day, removing it safely when it is sent down the drain or flushed down the toilet, and cleaning that wastewater so it can be used again to irrigate outside landscaping. Chandler also constructed recharge basins and wetlands, such as those at Veterans Oasis Park, to store treated wastewater underground.

When you pay your bill, you also help to build and maintain Chandler’s infrastructure that includes:
• 1,230 miles of water lines to bring drinking water into homes.
• 40,000 valves the city uses to control fire hydrants and reroute water when it needs to repair or do maintenance on a water line.
• 79,500 water meters that measure water use at each home and business.
• 900 miles of underground pipes to remove wastewater from homes and businesses and transport it to treatment centers.
• 120 miles of underground pipelines to reuse 100 percent of reclaimed wastewater.

Chandler residents pay for skilled staff, including chemists and technicians who must complete 13,000 tests each year on Chandler’s drinking water. They pay for construction workers who know how to build and fix water pipes and for the people who read their water-meters, now done with technology that allows a city employee to simply drive by or near your home.

If your water bill sometimes raises your temperature, remember all that's involved in making sure you have a dependable supply of water for a cool shower any time of day or night. Find more information about how Chandler saves water here.

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

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