Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, NC, may be one of the prettiest places in the Tar Heel State, but its water bills are ugly.
A LawnStarter analysis of new data from Food & Water Watch, a consumer rights group, shows residential customers of Asheville’s community water system paid the highest water bills in 2015 among the 16 largest community water systems in North Carolina. For Asheville, the annual bill was $429.45 for 60,000 gallons of water. Asheville was the only place in North Carolina where the water bill for one year topped $400.
David Melton, assistant director of water resources for the City of Asheville, says the mountainous topography of the Asheville area requires that water must be pumped and often re-pumped to reach customers, which hikes the cost of delivering water. In Asheville, the average per-person water bill is $225.12 a year, the city says.
“The City of Asheville Water Resources Department is dedicated to providing water that is safe and of the highest quality possible. Asheville water quality routinely exceeds state and federal standards,” Melton says. “The City of Asheville is progressive, driven and dedicated to constant improvement; therefore, funds are reinvested into the water system to ensure quality, reliability, and to be prepared to meet future regulations and other economically driven demands.”
He adds: “With most water systems, the old adage of ‘pay me now or pay me later’ holds true. Situations will happen and funds will have to be expended. Typically, today’s dollars are cheaper than next year’s dollars.”
Across the 16 community water systems surveyed in North Carolina, the average annual water bill was $288.71. Among the 500 biggest community water systems surveyed around the country, the average water bill was $337.60.
While customers in Asheville coughed up the most money for water in North Carolina in 2015, customers in Charlotte enjoyed the lowest water bills. According to our analysis of the Food & Water Watch data, the annual water bill in Charlotte was $179.51.
Here are the average water bills for the 16 North Carolina community water systems surveyed in 2015.