It’s Not Water… It’s H2O


Do you have lawn sprinklers? It’s November. That means it’s time for my annual post about turning off your sprinklers.  Woo-Hoo!!  That’s right.  “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle” also applies to money tips.

For Los Angelenos, the reason you should do that is really SEXY: Saving on your Sewer Service Charge (SSC). Hubba-hubba. A recent bill’s SSC was only $15.46. It had been TEN TIMES as high – as much as $155.55 until I wised up.

I will tell you the answer first, because the explanation could put you in REM 3. If you have automatic sprinklers and you live in an area that charges you a sewer usage charge based upon water you use – you might wanna shut them off until spring time. I live in the warm and sunny, drought-riddled Los Angeles “Valley”. I turn off my lawn sprinklers between the first rain in November until March-April.

To be clear, the savings I just mentioned was not money I banked from bill to bill by cutting back on the water itself, that I used to soak my lawn.  That was additional savings in the “Water” portion of the bill.  I’m talking about a separate part of the bill under “Sanitation Charges” called the Sewer Service Charge.   See below.

I started doing this a few years ago and my lawn, in full sun, has not suffered a bit. Individual results may vary. Void where prohibited without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball.

Serve your environmentalist side with your “green” stance on water conservation while currying favor with your inner capitalist by keeping “green” in your wallet.

Pull out your water bill or find it online. Find your bill dates (i.e. Dec 10 – Feb 11).  Your goal is to have one billing period during winter with very low water usage. I suggest no sprinkler use and no refilling of your pool or spa.  Plan accordingly. If nothing else, shut those sprinklers off December-February, and you’ll see your savings when your SSC rate resets in July.  Here is my bill from 2014 (too lazy to reprint 2015’s). Note the Sewer Charge:


Why? Water’s not that expensive. True. But in Los Angeles, homeowners pay a Sewer Service Charge. It is a somewhat complicated calculation based upon the amount of water used during the billing period of the previous winter that had the lowest daily water consumption. Since you don’t need the sprinklers watering an already moist, dormant lawn – save yourself what could be hundreds of dollars.

In a related story: Friends of mine live in the valley here in LA and NEVER water their lawn. They benefit from being at the bottom of the hill on their street. Just like how a rising tide lifts all boats, the lowest yard soaks up excess sprinkler juice!

> To learn more about the Sewer Service Charge

Watch Axel Rose sing about his LADWP bill:


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