How the City pays for its water and wastewater services is determined annually by the rate budget.  The rate budget covers day to day operations of water and wastewater services. These services are included in your property tax bill and water bill.

Understanding Your Water and Wastewater Bill 

Water Billing Cycles - Quarterly to Monthly
Water Meter UsageBilling DateDue DateNotes

M1

April 1 - May 31

June 16, 2021 July 12, 2021  2 Months of water usage

M1

June 1 - June 30

July 15, 2021 August 10, 2021  Monthly billing starts

M2 

May 1 - May 31

June 16, 2021  July 12, 2021  Monthly billing starts

M3

Mar 1 - May 31

June 16, 2021 July 12, 2021

3 Month of water usage

(2 months at 2021 rate & 1 month at 2020 rate)

M3

June 1-June 30

July 15, 2021 August 10, 2021 Monthly billing starts

 

 High Water Bill
According to the American Water Works Association, the daily average water consumption for a family of four people is 1 cubic metre (m3), 219.97 gallons or 1,000 litres.

What causes a high water bill

A sudden rise in the amount of your bill may be due to a number of reasons:

  • Plumbing leaks in toilets and/or fixtures (98% of all high water bills are caused by a toilet leak!).
  • An increase in the number of people living or working in your dwelling.
  • A dry, hot summer, resulting in higher water use.
  • An increase in the number of days in the billing period.
  • Renovations, recent landscaping, or filling a swimming pool.
  • Consecutive estimated water meter readings followed by an actual water meter reading.
    • If your water was estimated and your consumption for previous billing periods was higher than estimated, you may see an increase on your current bill.

If you see a sudden rise in your bill, you may have a leak in your private plumbing system. Learn more about water leaks, costs and how to spot a leak. All water use, including water consumed by leaks, is your responsibility and will be charged to your utili

 Water Leaks

Costs of leaks

If you have a leak, your water use will increase and remain elevated until it is fixed. This will affect your water consumption charges and result in a higher utility bill.

Leaky toilets

Leaky toilets are the #1 cause of high water bills! A leaky toilet can waste upwards of 300 USG (or approximately 1 cubic metre, or 1,000 litres) of water EVERY DAY! Over a 90 day billing period, that leakage can total 90 cubic metres, and result in an extra $250 in water and wastewater charges* on your bill!

*calculated with 2020 rates of $1.365/m3 (water) and $1.382/m3 (sewer)

City Hall offers toilet leak tester kits, free of charge. See our Leaky Toilet brochure for information on how to check your toilet for leaks.

Other leaks

Anything in your home that is connected to your plumbing system has the potential to leak or run continuously and could cause a high water bill. Additional frequent causes of high water bills that we have seen include:

  • Filling a swimming pool – filling your pool at the beginning of the season and topping it up throughout the summer can add $50-100 to your water bill
  • Lawn/garden watering – this activity can add $20-50 to your water bill
  • Water softeners/water filtration systems – these systems can fail and cause excessive water to be used
  • Furnace humidifiers – solenoid valve can fail and cause water to run continuously
  • Water powered sump pump – solenoid valve can fail and cause water to run continuously
  • Outdoor leaks – not only can an outside tap drip, if you have any buried plumbing lines (i.e. to a swimming pool, a garden shed, sprinkler system etc.), the line can break underground.
  • Broken plumbing – plumbing has been known to break and leak in crawlspaces and inside the wall

For instructions on how to read your water meter, please visit our Water Meters page

 

 Water Meters

Water meters are an important component of Port Colborne's drinking water system. Every residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional customer is equipped with a water meter to track consumption.  This ensures that each individual customer is billed for only the water they consume.

There are more than 6,000 water meters within the city. Water meters are mechanical devices, which require maintenance and/or replacement every so often depending on their size.  Some industrial water meters need to be replaced yearly, where most residential water meters only need to be replaced around every 20 years.

Nearly all water meters were replaced in 2016; the approximate 500 that were not replaced were less than 5 years old. While a handful of analog meters remain in service, nearly all of the water meters in operation today are digital water meters that have the ability to store 95 days worth of hourly water usage data. City staff can download this data to help identify if abnormal water usage is occurring.

Where is my water meter and what are my responsibilities?

Water meters are typically located in the basement, along the front wall and near the floor, immediately after your water shut off valve. Other common places include basement washrooms, laundry rooms and furnace rooms. Properties with crawlspaces may have the meter in the crawlspace, in a cabinet on the main floor, or the meter may be in a special chamber at the property line, called a “meter pit”. If you aren't certain where your water meter is located, please contact the City and we'll do our best to help.

Water meters are owned by the City, however, property owners have a responsibility to protect the meter from damage (i.e. insulated to keep it from freezing) and must ensure the water meter remains accessible (i.e. do not build a wall over the meter, install fixtures that block the meter). Additionally, all water meters have been installed with a special tamper seal and tag. If you or your plumber have to cut the seal and tag in order to complete some plumbing work, please notify us immediately so that we can inspect and re-seal your water meter.

My water meter is leaking

Verify that the leak is coming from the actual meter, or where the meter connects to your plumbing, and not from the surrounding pipes and/or the water shut off valve. The City is not responsible for leaky pipes or water shut off valves. If one of these items is leaking, you may wish to contact a plumber.

If the meter itself is leaking, or it is leaking where the meter connects to your plumbing, contact the City at 905-835-2900 to make a service request, and our staff will contact you to arrange an appointment to inspect/repair the meter. If during a service request, it is discovered that the meter is damaged, frozen or missing, property owners will be charged for the repair or replacement.

Reading your water meter

In order to read the digital water meters, the display first has be activated. This can require a bright light, like an LED light, (a cell phone light works well) and some patience. Please see either the Version 4 Meter info sheet or the R900i Meter info sheet for details on what the display is telling you. You can determine which meter you have from the picture on the sheet.

Please see our How to Read Your Water Meter information sheet on how to read your water meter and how you can use it to assist in diagnosing and finding leaks.