Using water wisely this winter can lead to lower utility bills

New wastewater discounts for multi-family residences also to commence

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, (509) 625-6505

Monday, November 9, 2015 at 1:15 p.m.

Water-wise City of Spokane utility customers who used 11 units of water or less over a four-month period last winter will see a $5 credit on the wastewater portion of their utility bills each month in 2016. A unit of water equals 748 gallons, so these customers used about 8,200 gallons or less over that time.

Also in 2016, new wastewater bill discounts for multi-family residential units will take effect.

“At the City, we have worked diligently to create greater affordability for our citizens and utility customers, while also protecting our water resources,” says Mayor David Condon. “These programs will assist many Spokane families in the coming year.”

The wastewater credit program rewards the lowest 20 percent of residential water users with the $5 monthly credit for a total of $60 in credits in a year. The lowest indoor water users are determined based on water use during the winter, when most water use is for indoor purposes. 2016 credits are based on usage from the 2015 winter. Water use is recalculated annually, and customers who receive the credit may be different from year to year.

That means that this winter’s water use will qualify customers for the credit in 2017. Customers can take steps this winter to reduce their indoor water usage and possibly qualify for the discount in the future. Repairing indoor leaks, taking shorter showers, and installing appliances and fixtures that use less water can help.

Customers can find information on indoor water-saving products and tips on the City’s web site at and on the Environmental Protection Agency’s site at

The wastewater bill credit program was instituted in 2015. The program is designed to allow customers to make choices that could lead to lower monthly bills. Previously, all wastewater customers were charged the same rates regardless of the amount of wastewater they generate.

The program also benefits the City’s utilities:

  • Reducing flows to the City’s wastewater treatment plant lowers annual operating costs and, over time, allows the City to accommodate growth without increasing the size of its wastewater collection and treatment systems.
  • Reducing indoor water usage also will help the City achieve its water conservation goals. One of the City’s goals is to achieve 0.5 percent reduction in indoor residential water use annually.

Meanwhile, the new multi-family wastewater discounts approved in 2014 will begin. In 2016, the per-housing unit wastewater discount for multi-family residences will increase to $2 per month from 74 cents today. In 2017, that credit will increase to $3 per month.