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Understanding your water utility bill

Delivering safe and reliable drinking water, treating wastewater, providing flood protection and maintaining a system of pipes, plants and pumps for a city of 1.2 million is complex.

Reading your water utility bill shouldn’t be.

On this page you can learn more about how to read and understand your water utility statement as well as learn about the services listed on your bill.

To learn about how we set rates and service charges, see Water Utility Rates FAQ.

Customer service

Questions about your water utility bill?

Please visit  the ENMAX Customer Care Centre or contact 310-2010. ENMAX is The City's contracted customer care, billing and meter reading provider.

Need a new account?

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

How to read and understand your water utility statement

Your bill explained

Click to view larger image.

How to read your bill

Your monthly water bill pays for three important services

These services are entirely funded by rates paid by customers. The water utility does not receive any funding from property taxes. For more information on how the City sets rates and service charges, see our Water Utility Rates FAQ.

Water Treatment and Supply

Treatment and delivery of the clean and safe water used in your home or business, which includes:

  • Two water treatment plants
  • Maintenance of over 4800 kms of water pipes
  • Over 117,000 water quality tests
  • Responsive field crews to address service interruptions

Wastewater Collection and Treatment*

Collecting and safely treating the water you produce from flushing toilets, draining sinks and bathtubs, and then returning it to our rivers, which includes:

  • Three wastewater treatment plants
  •  Significant upgrades to our treatment plants to meet regulatory requirements
  • Maintenance of over 7000 kms of wastewater pipes
  • High quality water returned to our rivers
  • Responsive field crews to address service interruptions

Stormwater Management*

Reliable street drainage, flood protection and river health, which includes:

  • Protection from property damage
  • Storm ponds that help protect our rivers from 30,000 tonnes of sediment
  • Maintenance and improvements to the stormwater system
  • Investment in flood protection and riverbank improvements.

* Wastewater and Stormwater services were previously shown under one heading (“wastewater and drainage”). In 2019, the services were separated on the bill to demonstrate that they are separate services.

There are two types of charges on your bill

  Usage Charge Fixed charge
  These charges are based on the amount of water you use and are calculated by multiplying your usage by a predetermined rate. These are a set charge and are not impacted by your water usage.
Water treatment and supply

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

Water Service Charge: Pays for services including meter reading, billing, meter repairs and fire protection.

Wastewater collection and treatment

Wastewater Charge: Pays for treating your wastewater before it is pumped back into the river.

Wastewater Service Charge: Pays for the infrastructure to collect wastewater from your home and deliver it to the treatment plants, and for billing.

Stormwater management


Stormwater Service Charge: Pays for collecting and managing water from rain or snow/ice melt, and the infrastructure to move it to the nearest river or creek.

Calculating usage charges

Water Charge

Metered customers: your Water Charge is calculated by multiplying the total water usage recorded by your meter by the water rate.

Flat rate customers: your Water charge is determined by the size of both your lot and your residence.

Wastewater Charge

For customers with a water meter, your wastewater charge is calculated by multiplying your wastewater usage by the wastewater usage rate.

Wastewater usage is calculated based on a percentage of your water use to reflect that not all the water you use in your home or business is returned to the wastewater system for treatment.

  • The percentages reflect how much water, on average, each customer type returns to the system as wastewater over the 12 months of the year.
  • The percentages are used year-round and account for seasonal fluctuations where you return more water to the wastewater treatment system in the winter months and less during the summer months because of outdoor activities like watering.
Customer Wastewater usage Wastewater charge

90% of water used is returned to the wastewater system

(water usage x 0.90 = wastewater usage)

Wastewater usage x rate of $1.57* = wastewater charge

Business Customers
(without effluent meters)

92% of water used is returned to the wastewater system

(water usage x 0.92 = wastewater usage)

Wastewater usage x 

rate of $1.91* = wastewater charge

97% of the water used is returned to the wastewater system

(water usage x 0.97 = wastewater usage)

Wastewater usage x rate of $2.14* = wastewater charge


*Wastewater rate has been rounded for illustrative purposes  

Your wastewater usage is then multiped by the wastewater rate to calculate your Wastewater Charge.

You can find detailed information on rates here.

Questions you may have about your bill

Why does my bill fluctuate from month to month?

For all customers: your bill may fluctuate depending on the number of days billed for in a payment period.

For customers with water meters: your bill will also fluctuate based on the amount of water you have used.

Why does the number of days I am billed for vary?

The number of days you are billed for may vary as meters aren’t always read on the same day each month. However, it is typically between 28 and 30 days.

Why do I pay more for wastewater than water?

Turning river water into safe drinking water has a cost, but Calgary is fortunate to have clean water sourced from the nearby Bow glacier. The source water doesn’t require as much cleaning treatment as wastewater.

It costs The City of Calgary more to collect wastewater from residential homes and commercial locations and then treat this wastewater to remove solids like feces, dishwasher food particles, etc., and return the treated water safely to the Bow River.

Is my water use “normal”?

The average Calgarian uses 7m3, or 7,000 litres, of water every month. While a family of three can expect to use 19m3, or 19,000 litres, of water every month.

For tips on how you can reduce your water use, check out saving water in your home  and the Homeowner Water Guide.

How do you determine how much water I use?

Metered customers

If you are a metered customer as water travels into your home or business, it is measured and recorded by your water meter and your Water Charge and Wastewater Charge are then calculated based on that usage.

Learn how to read your water meter here.

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.

Visit the residential rates here.

How can I be sure my water meter is accurately measuring the amount of water I use?

The City uses water meters that meet industry standards. Water meters are mechanical devices – water needs to pass through the meter in order to record use. 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.

Learn how a water meter works here.

My bill says ‘estimated’ under Read Type. What does that mean?

If you are a metered customer your water meter records how much water you use, and your Water Charge and Wastewater Charge are then calculated based on that usage. When you receive your bill, it shows what the meter reading was and whether it was an actual reading or an estimated meter reading.

If we cannot obtain a meter reading, your usage is estimated based on past use. This is referred to as an estimated meter reading. The next time the meter reader is able to get a reading, your next water bill is updated with the actual data and you may notice some minor adjustments to your charges in order to reconcile any difference.

If you have received an estimate and would like to submit a reading, please contact ENMAX at 403-310-2010. You can also submit a meter reading to ENMAX online.

My bill is significantly higher than usual - 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 our high 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 for further investigation. If you have received a water bill that is equal to or greater than three times your average bill for that season, call ENMAX as soon as possible.

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.

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