Your “water bill” from Des Moines Water Works is actually a combined billing statement for water and services provided by the City of Des Moines. Some customers are surprised to learn that Des Moines Water Works is a municipality separate from the City of Des Moines. Des Moines Water Works is governed by a five- member Board of Water Works Trustees, and the City of Des Moines is governed by the City Council. While the Board of Water Works Trustees has oversight for setting policy and rates for water service, the Des Moines City Council has oversight for setting policy and rates for the city services of sanitary sewer, solid waste and storm water, which appear on your Des Moines Water Works bill.
The City of Des Moines (and other local communities served by Des Moines Water Works) contracts with Des Moines Water Works to perform the billing, collecting, and customer service for their municipal services. This collaboration is positive for customers, because it helps reduce redundancies in technologies and staff, and therefore keeps costs lower for customers. It can, however, be confusing. For the average residential customer who opens their water bill, it would be easy to mistakenly think “water” costs around $70.00 per month. In fact, in Des Moines, city services make up about $50.00 or 70% of the “water bill.” The remaining $20.00 per month represents the average customer’s true water charges – a price tag well below other utilities for which customers are paying, including electricity, gas, cable/satellite, cell phone, etc.
The Des Moines Water Works statement you receive each month includes a breakout of all the services for which you are being charged, and each section of the bill reflects whether it is a service provided by Des Moines Water Works or your city. Better understanding your monthly statement can help you better understand Des Moines Water Works’ commitment to delivering tap water that is safe, convenient, and affordable.