Some Pearland residents say controversial water bill is draining their wallets

One mom said she received two bills last year that were both over $8,000 each.

PEARLAND, Texas – Pearland resident Jimmy Davis has been on a search trying to find answers to residents’ outrageous water bills.

Davis, who is a financial analyst, told KPRC 2 that he’s been chasing down water billing problems in the city of Pearland for the past two years.

”I have no confidence in the city of Pearland,” he said. “I feel used.”

Davis said he worked on a special citizens committee set up by Pearland officials last winter to get to the bottom of some major complaints.

“I can tell you, through our six months of work, we realized there are serious problems,” Davis said.

It all started in 2018 when the city changed its format and began sending out bills to residents for 28 days of water use every month.

However, some months had 30 and 31 days accounted for. This caused the city to quickly fall behind by more than $5,000,000.

To make up for that, the city launched something called the 32/30 plan. It works by billing every water customer in Pearland for 32 days of water, every 30 days.

”That means people in a year, a 365-day year, are paying for 384 days of water consumption,” Davis said. “It’s not right and it’s not fair.”

Pearland hair salon owner Joslyn Perez is also angry after getting outrageously high water bills for $649 a month, $1,500 a month, and almost $2,000 a month for water usage amounts.

“At my residence, my place of residence was 100,000 gallons of water consumed in one month,” Perez said.

Across town, Brandy Lewis, a working mom whose water bills normally average out to $100 a month, was hit with two bills last August and September that were both over $8,000 each.

“I was dumbstruck,” Lewis said. “They were saying we were using over a million gallons of water a month. There’s no way.”

Davis blames both Perez’s and Lewis’ big bills on another big change, Pearland’s switch from mechanical meters to new digital water meters, called Smart Meters.

”Look, if somebody uses 6,000 gallons a month and all of the sudden, for two and a half months they used a million gallons a month, there’s probably something wrong. The meter malfunctioned,” Davis added.

Now, with close to 1,500 people sounding off on a Facebook page dedicated to Pearland’s water billing woes, KPRC 2 Investigates sat down with Pearland Mayor Kevin Cole to ask some tough questions.


Bill Spencer:

”The citizen’s committee that the city put together has recommended you get rid of the 32/30 plan. Are you going to get rid of it?”

Mayor Kevin Cole:

“If it is up to me, as a sole vote, I would have done away with 32/30. I would never have gone into the 32/30 plan. So yes, I would recommend highly we do away with the plan”.

What about those astronomically high water bills some people have received?

Bill Spencer:

“If somebody comes in with an outrageous water bill, claiming that they used like 100,000 gallons in one month, for example. Will you guys forgive those bills going forward in the future?”

Mayor Kevin Cole:

“We need to find out what’s causing it. Is it a meter issue? Is it an actual issue going on in the home? I would ask, if they’ve got an outrageous bill, to contact me through email because I take this personally. These are my citizens out here”.


That’s right. The mayor of Pearland urged all residents in his city who receive one of these outrageously high water bills to contact him directly through email.

He says by doing that, your complaint will automatically be given the “highest priority status.”

You can email Mayor Cole at kcole@pearlandtx.gov.

As for the 32/30 plan, Pearland City Council members met to discuss ending the rule last Monday night but decided not to do anything.

Important to note, after Lewis contacted the city about her outrageous water bill, a couple of months after the city did forgive that bill.


About the Author:

Emmy-winning investigative reporter, insanely competitive tennis player, skier, weightlifter, crazy rock & roll drummer (John Bonham is my hero). Husband to Veronica and loving cat father to Bella and Meemo.