CEDAR PARK, Texas -- Many Central Texans had sticker shock when they got their August water bill. It's a story KVUE has been following after e-mails poured in from residents in Austin, Cedar Park and Round Rock. City leaders said they're looking to make sure it's not a problem on their end.
When Cedar Park neighbor Bob DuCharme opened his bill, it showed he used six times as much water in August as he did the month before.
"There's no possible way," he said. "In July we used approximately 2,400 gallons. For the bill in August it was over 12,000 gallons. What's interesting is I wasn't even home so there was literally one person in the home for most of the month of August."
He's just one of many complaining to the city.
"Remember not only do a lot of the people who work for the City of Cedar Park just work here, we live here too and we certainly share these concerns with our friends and neighbors," said Cedar Park Media and Communications Manager Jennie Huerta.
Cedar Park has seen a 93 percent increase in demand since June.
"So far we have not identified any meter errors or billing malfunctions but still we are not making any assumptions. We are fulling examining our entire system," Huerta said.
Austin Water spokesperson Jason Hill said they also received hundreds of complaints about high bills lately.
"Austin water is concerned when our customers receive a bill that they don't expect and they feel that it is high," said Hill. "For some customers it may be above normal usage, for other customers it may be a leak, for another small portion of the customers it could be an error on our end."
Numbers show usage in Austin dropped below normal in May and June when storms hit. As the summer dried out, water usage has gone up 62 percent. Austin rates are calculated in a tiered rate structure. And in July, River Place and Lost Creek became a part of that structure too, which may help explain the sticker shock there.
But that doesn't solve DuCharme's problem, because he lives in Cedar Park.
"There's a flaw in the program somewhere. I don't know where it is," he said.
He hasn't found a leak and said his meter appears to be working just fine.
"There's got to be a better explanation for this than, 'You just used more water.' There's no way," DuCharme said.
Both cities suggest self-auditing your irrigation system and checking for leaks. If you don't find any problems on your end call them.
In Cedar Park the number for utility billing is 512-401-5300. They also have information online about how the bill is calculated. You can also e-mail Penny Ewell for your five-year water usage history. Send your name, address and water account number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have billing concerns, go here to visit Austin Water's website, or you can reach them at 512-494-9400.