Soaring summer water bills are spurring customer complaints in southern Logan County.
New rates designed to curb water usage in Rural Water District No. 1 instead have some questioning whether they can afford to live in the largely rural area centered about 25 miles north of Oklahoma City.
Brad Stone, president of the Highland Trails homeowner's association, said he knows of residents whose monthly bills jumped from less than $100 to more than $2,000.
“You're talking the same price as some of these people's mortgages,” Stone said. “When you start talking about affecting real estate values and people wanting to move, it's kind of a big deal.”
Buddy Thompson, the water district's manager, offered a simple solution to bring the bills back down: Stop watering the lawn.
The water system, which operates on wells, is not designed for such use, he said.
“I don't think a lot of them realized how much water they use when they're watering,'' he said.
In May, to minimize the potential effects of the drought and conserve water, leaders of the 50-square-mile district ordered mandatory water rationing and initiated new summer rates.
Users were allowed to water their lawns only twice a week. And the amount customers were charged after exceeding the first 15,999 gallons was increased from $6 for every 1,000 gallons to $15.