Winter Quarter Average
In December 2021, Benbrook Water Authority will begin tracking customer water usage for the purpose of using the Winter Quarter Average (WQA) method to approximate our customers’ wastewater usage. We wanted to give you a heads-up so that you may be informed and manage your water usage in the coming months to minimize future sewer bills. Here’s what that means for valued customers like you.
What is Winter Quarter Average?
Winter Quarter Average (WQA) is a method for water utilities to bill for customers’ wastewater usage over the course of each year which focuses on more accurately approximating indoor water usage so that customers are not billed for warm weather activities such as watering lawns or washing cars. This method is considered an industry best practice.
Please note: The Winter Quarter Average method does not apply to your drinking water usage. The “water” line item on your bill will not be affected by the Winter Quarter Average. As always, your water bill will be based on your exact usage.
How does WQA work?
Using the Winter Quarter Average means that you will be charged the same amount each month for wastewater based on your average water usage over the three winter months: December, January, and February. We will measure your water usage over those three months, and in March, we will calculate your average usage during those months. That average water consumption, reflected in cubic feet (1 cubic foot of water equals 7.5 gallons), will be used to set your new monthly sewer bill beginning in April and will remain the same for the next 12 months
Why the switch from how usage is currently measured?
Think of your water consumption in terms of inflow and outflow. As a customer, your meter tracks water usage as it flows into your house (inflow). That same meter does not read what flows out of your house through pipes, or what you put down the drain and flush (outflow). This outflow is called wastewater, and it shows up on your bill under the “sewer” line item.
Currently, water utilities estimate how much wastewater flows out of your house based on how much water flows into it. They estimate that these amounts — your metered water usage, or inflow, and your wastewater, or outflow — are the exact same. For example, when you turn on the faucet to take a shower, utilities estimate that the exact amount of water coming out of your shower head will go down the drain as wastewater, which then needs to be treated.
At BWA, we recognize that some of your metered inflow goes to outdoor water use and does not leave through a drain. Especially in the summer, how often do you water your lawn, spray down the slip-and-slide, water your plants, and fill the swimming pool?
To address this, we have historically capped your “sewer” usage at 1,500 cubic feet per billing cycle. Soon, by using the Winter Quarter Average method, we will be measuring your water usage during months when it is more indicative of your normal indoor usage throughout the year, and stabilizing your monthly sewer bill in the process.
If you have other questions about how the Winter Quarter Average works or how it will affect your monthly bill, please contact Customer Service at 817-249-1250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.