Residents hit with $31K water bill from city of Houston

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Imagine opening up your water bill and seeing you owe more than $31,000 for one month's worth of service.

KPRC2 has reported many times on huge water bills, but this one may just be the biggest.

Residents at the Cline Street Place townhome community are furious with the city and demanding action.

READ: How to fight a huge water bill

What are residents saying?

Karin Lieber said she fills her sink with water to wash dishes.

But, in the back of her mind, she is already asking herself what kind of astronomical price she's going to have to pay for the water.

"We essentially have been having a crisis with our water situation," she said.

Not the first time

Since December 2017, Lieber said the homeowners association for her community has repeatedly been hit with outrageous water bills from the city of Houston Public Works department.

The latest? A bill for $31,973 for one row of seven townhomes.

How much water does the city say was used?

To be specific, the bill claims seven condominiums, over one month, used almost 3 million gallons of water.

How much water is 3 million gallons? Check out the graphic below:

"There's no way that seven homes can consume that amount of water," Lieber said.

No leaks found

Lieber said that in order to fight the city and the huge bills, the HOA she helps lead spent thousands of dollars hiring two different exploratory plumbing companies to investigate and look for leaks on the property.

There were none, she said, at Cline Street Place.

Meters don't appear to work

To make matters worse, Shawn Spears, the HOA secretary said some of the digital water meters don't appear to work.

"The digital readers are often disconnected. There will be no digital read on these meters at any given time, so we're not sure how they are getting a digital read on these meters if they are not connected," Spears said.

The bottom line, according to Lieber: "We are not using that much water"

Here is a statement from the city of Houston Public Works Department:

“Customer Account Services has reopened the administrative review for Cline Street Place. Customer Account Services will review the billing details for each of the accounts and work directly with the customer to resolve the concern.”

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