An examination of conditions influencing recent summer-fall water bills in Arlington.
Weather conditions more extreme
- 2018 was Arlington region’s wettest year ever recorded (data goes back to 1871).
- 2019 saw normal precipitation levels until fourth-driest August-September ever recorded.
- August-September precipitation differential from 2018 to 2019 was second highest ever recorded.
- Following record heat and minimal rain, National Weather Service declared a rare Flash Drought for region in fall 2019.
Weather patterns influence water usage
- Weather is the greatest variable affecting residential water consumption.
- Fall 2019 consumption patterns were within an expected range except when directly compared to extremely low fall 2018 levels.
- Average consumption rose more than 25% in the fourth quarter 2019 from same period in 2018.
- In 2016: More than 5,000 residential Arlington accounts registered more than a 50% increase in consumption from the previous year. In 2019 this number increased to 7,900 accounts.
- In 2016: Almost 2,500 residential accounts more than doubled consumption from the previous year. In 2019 this number increased to 3,900 accounts.
No systemic issues found
- Review of billing system and sampling of meters have found no internal triggers for a rash of high and/or inaccurate charges.
Rate increase had small impact on bills
- Combined water-sewer rate rose 1.3% from $13.62 to $13.80, effective on July 1, 2019.
Solutions for customers
- If you believe that your bill is abnormal or if you had a leak, please contact our DES Customer Contact Center at 703-228-5000 | DESContactCenter@arlingtonva.us
- Customer Contact service reps are ready, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., to review any customer’s usage history and, if requested, initiate a high-use investigation.
- Customers are urged to rule out issues like hidden leaks and running toilets, using a professional plumber when necessary.
- Usage data is regularly reviewed internally ahead of billing to flag unusual high use; customers proactively notified via mail and encouraged to contact the customer service.
- Through the Customer Contact Center, customers can set up a water account solely for irrigation.