December 27, 2012

What are all the Charges on my Billing Statement?

When you look at your monthly billing statement from Des Moines Water Works (DMWW), you may notice there are several charges detailed on your statement that aren’t for water.  The City of Des Moines and other communities directly served by Des Moines Water Works contract with DMWW to provide billing services for important services those communities provide.  Below is a summary of what you may see on your statement:

Water – The current water charges are just that – the amount of water used in the billing period times the water rate.   Our meters in most service areas register in cubic feet, which is a little more difficult to “imagine” than gallons.  There are about 7.5 gallons in one cubic foot.  If you want to know how many gallons you used, multiply your water usage shown near the bottom of your statement (in cubic feet) by 7.5.  For example, if your statement shows you used 700 cubic feet, you used about 5,250 gallons of water.   In the City of Des Moines, you pay about the same price for 1,000 gallons of water as you do for one gallon of milk!  And the water is delivered straight to your tap – you don’t have to run to the store!

Water Availability – Water availability is a flat monthly fee, regardless of the amount of water you use.  Water availability covers fixed costs that don’t vary by the amount of water you use – things like reading your meter and generating monthly statement, having customer service available to answer questions, etc.

Sewer – Like the water charge, sewer charges are also based on the amount of water consumed, but using a separate sewer rate.  In households, water from your faucets goes down your drain, therefore you are benefiting from the sewer system.  This waste water must be treated prior to being placed back in the rivers, and your sewer rate covers the costs to collect, transport and treat your waste water.

Sewer Customer Service Charge – This charge is similar to the water availability charge for water and covers fixed costs related to sewer service.

Solid Waste and Curb It – This is a flat monthly fee for garbage removal and recycling pick up if municipal pick up is provided.  These fees are not optional, even if you do not recycle, for example.  The fee is based on the number of containers at your property.

Stormwater – Most communities are served by a stormwater system – drains in the street that collect rain water run-off and allow you to navigate safely around town.  Everyone shares in paying for this service if your community has a stormwater utility.  Because pavement causes run-off, stormwater charges are higher the more pavement you have.  Stormwater charges are a flat monthly fee, generally based on the size of your lot, driveway, and buildings.

Rates for these services vary by service area and can be found at  If you have any questions about your billing statement, please call (515) 283-8760 between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday to speak with a Customer Service Representative.

Posted by: Cory Waddell No Comments
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