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Water utility rates - frequently asked questions

Below you will find answers to common questions about water utility billing in Calgary. To learn more about your bill and see your account's rates, visit Water Utility Rates, Accounts and Billing.

Questions about your ENMAX bill? The City of Calgary contracts ENMAX to provide billing and customer care for water services. For questions about your bill, contact ENMAX Customer Care.

Need a new account? See how to set up a new water account, visit Water Accounts and Billing.

Water utility accounts and rates - frequently asked questions

What services do I pay for?

Your water, wastewater and stormwater rates and service charges pay for a water system that provides some of the best drinking watering the world.

They help ensure your water utility, now and for years to come, can reliably deliver and safely treat your water while protecting the source of our drinking water – our rivers.

In March 2019, we launched improvements to the water utility bill. The bill has been updated to make it easier to see the services you pay for, how the charges are calculated and where your money goes.

There are no new fees. The new bill separates wastewater and stormwater services to show they are different services (formerly shown under wastewater and drainage). The stormwater service charge was the drainage service charge on your previous bill.

To learn more about the changes, visit How to Read Your Water Bill.

Water rates and service charges

Pays for drawing water from the river, treating it, and delivering it to your home or business.

Wastewater rates and service charges

Pays for collecting and safely treating the water you produce from flushing toilets, draining sinks and bathtubs, and then returning it to our rivers.

Stormwater service charge

Pays for the costs to collect and move water from rain, snow or ice to the nearest river or creek through storm drains, pipes and ponds. This helps to protect you, your property and our environment.

How do you measure my water use?

Water meter customers

As water travels into your home or business, it is measured and recorded by your water meter. Water meters are mechanical devices – water needs to pass through the meter in order to record use.

Meter readings are taken monthly. Water readings are electronically sent to the meter reader's device so that no one has to enter your home. Water meters are installed just above the main water shut-off valve in the home. This is usually in the basement and is located on a pipe that comes out of the basement floor.

Other residential meters are read manually by a meter reader and recorded. These manual read-outs are located on the outside of the home.

If we cannot obtain a meter reading, you are billed based on your historical use. The next time the meter reader can get a reading, the bill is updated with the actual data. There may be some minor adjustments in order to reconcile the difference.

The City of Calgary uses water meters that meet industry standards. To certify the meter’s accuracy, all meters are tested by the manufacturer at three different flow rates.

We are also one of the only municipalities in Canada to own a state-of-the-art Water Meter Test Bench manufactured by MARS Company, an industry leader in meter testing technology.

Flat rate customers

If you are a residential customer on a flat rate, your water charge is determined by the size of both your lot and your residence.

How do you calculate my wastewater use?

The amount you pay for wastewater is based on a percent of your water usage during the year.

We recognize that not all of the water that goes to your home or business is sent to the wastewater system for treatment. For example, watering your plants in the summer.

Our wastewater calculation takes this into consideration, charging you 90 per cent of your water usage (for residential), 92 per cent (for business customers) and 97 per cent (for multifamily customers).

This formula accounts for when you send more water to the wastewater system in the winter months and less during the summer months.

How do you determine water rates?

Rate calculations

To see how rates are calculated on a monthly bill, visit Water Utility Rates, Accounts and Billing.

2019 rate changes for residential customers

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, residential metered customers will see a slight decrease in their overall water bill.

As an example, for a metered household using 19m3 of water per month, the typical monthly water bill will decrease from $115.93 in 2018 to $115.61 in 2019.

  • Water treatment and supply: -2.6% from 2018
  • Wastewater collection and treatment: +1.0% from 2018
  • Stormwater management (also called drainage): +2.5% from 2018
  • Overall: -0.3%

2019 rate changes for business (general service) customers

Business customers will see a combined water, wastewater and stormwater rate and service charge increase of 2% to 3%.

  • Water treatment and supply: - 0.1% from 2018
  • Wastewater collection and treatment: +4.5% from 2018
  • Stormwater management (also called drainage): +2.5% from 2018
  • Overall: +2.3%

2019 rate changes for general service large customers

  • Water treatment and supply: +1.3% from 2018
  • Wastewater collection and treatment: +4.6% from 2018
  • Stormwater management (also called drainage): +2.5% from 2018
  • Overall: +3.1%

2019 rate changes for multi-family customers

Multi-family customers will see a combined water, wastewater and stormwater rate and service charge increase of 2.1%.

  • Water treatment and supply: +4.0% from 2018
  • Wastewater collection and treatment: +8.3% from 2018
  • Stormwater management (also called drainage): +2.5% from 2018
  • Overall: +2.1%

How the City sets rates

Based on usage patterns, we divide customers into groups such as residential, business and multi-family. Your rates and service charges reflect the actual cost to provide your customer group with water, wastewater and stormwater services.

Every four years, The City undertakes a cost of service study to ensure new rates and service charges are fair and equitable across these customer groups and can address operational requirements and investments that allow us to continue to provide clean, safe water and reliable service for years to come. The study determines the actual cost and then adjusts the rates and service charges to match this cost of service.

Increases in wastewater treatment rates and service charges are a result of inflation along with required upgrades to Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment plant because of Calgary’s growth and changing regulatory requirements, as well as flood mitigation.

Increases in the stormwater management charge are a result of inflation as well as improvements to stormwater drainage in older communities, continued work on flood recovery, storm pond cleaning and to continue to meet regulatory requirements.

My water usage seems high - what can I do?

If you receive a bill that is higher than expected, it could be the result of an undetected leak.

The first step we recommend is to work through ourhigh consumption checklist. This guide can help you troubleshoot causes of high water consumption.

If a cause cannot be found, please contact ENMAX at 310-2010 to support further investigation. If you have received a water bill that is equal to or greater than three times your average bill for that season, we recommend calling ENMAX as soon as possible.

Once the issue has been identified and fixed, the bill will be reduced to reflect your seasonal average water use, plus the services charges for water, wastewater and stormwater.

This reduction will be for the period in which there was high consumption, up to a maximum of three billing cycles (approximately 90 days).

Please note that it takes time to review each situation and work to find the cause of the high water use. Depending on call volume and length of time needed to investigate, there may be higher than usual wait times for you to have your specific situation reviewed.

The most common cause of large increases in water consumption are leaks. The most common sources of large increases in water consumption are outlined in the chart below:

Causes of High Water Consumption

How can I save money on my water bill?

Your water bill can be a great tool to help you monitor your water usage from month to month and identify leaks. Learn how to read your water bill.

Suspect you have a leak? Find troubleshooting tips at Water leaks and basic repairs.

There are also many ways to conserve water inside and outside your home and business: