TARGET 8: Who uses the most water in Columbia?

4 years 9 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, December 10 2015 Dec 10, 2015 Thursday, December 10, 2015 9:28:00 PM CST December 10, 2015 in Target 8
By: Taeler De Haes, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – Water. We all use it, but do we know how much?

KOMU 8 News sent a Missouri open records request to Columbia Water and Light requesting water usage for the past five years, both commercial and residential locations.

For fiscal year 2013, the average commercial property used 31,096.22 gallons. In fiscal year 2014, the average lowered to 30,687.58. This year, the average lowered again to 28,291.41.

Top five commerical users

The top five commercial water users for fiscal year 2015 are Kraft Foods, 3M Electronics, Boone Hospital Center, Harry S Truman Memorial Veteran’s Hospital and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Rock Bridge High School ranked ninth highest in commercial water usage for fiscal year 2015 using 836,762.67 gallons per month. By comparison, Hickman High School used 51,051 gallons per month.

Battle High School is not listed in the database because a consolidated water district, not Columbia, serves them.

Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said she noticed a spike in the bill between April and May and determined there was a leak.

“The leak was from the cooling tower water fill that is located in the tower pit underground,” Baumstark said. “The cooling tower is part of the condenser loop attached to the chillers in the building. The tower fill has a float on it that measures the water level in the pit and shuts off the water when it is full. The float arm broke allowing the water to run.”

She said since the leak was underground and water never surfaced, it took several weeks to find.

Baumstark said she is not sure why the water usage is so much higher, but she did note one reason could be the uniqueness of the grass baseball field. The other high schools in Columbia have AstroTurf for baseball fields.

New pilot project will allow customers to check daily usage

With a new billing system coming to Columbia in April, numbers on daily usage will be at the customer’s fingertips.

Connie Kacprowicz, Columbia Water and Light Utility Service Specialist, said creating an awareness of personal usage is top priority for the city.

“If you’re able to look at your usage on a daily basis, then you can start to look at trends for yourself,” she said. 

Currently, if a customer wants to know his or her usage on a daily basis, the city has to send someone out to the property to check the meter.

In roughly one year, the city will begin a pilot project in one area of town and change all meters to frequent interval data.

“With this type of meter, you can go check on it and get data at certain intervals, I think it’s about fifteen minute intervals,” Kacprowicz said. 

The area is west of West Boulevard south of Broadway. Stadium is the boundary on the west and south side. This part of town was selected because of frequent power outages and difficult-to-reach meters, since many are in the backyards of these houses.

Kacprowicz said customers would be able to see water leaks through the interval data.

The project will be funded by enterprise funds, meaning the money will come from fees for services without using tax dollars.

“This pilot project is part of the electric capital budget for fiscal year 2016,” Windsor said. “There was $150,000 appropriated for the project.  That number is an estimate until equipment is purchased and personnel work on the project.”

The total electric capital budget for FY16 is $15,100,000.  The total water capital budget for FY16 is $3,247,000.

“As you can see, the project is a small part of the total budget,” Windsor said.

The new meters in the area will remain there indefinitely. Windsor said if the response to the project is positive, the entire city would have the new meters in roughly five years.

All of Columbia will get new billing in April

In addition to the project, water and electric bills are getting a makeover for an April debut.

The City of Columbia is buying new billing software that will involve detailed usage graphs instead of just the total amount owed.

“We’re hoping that things like new billing graphs, showing usage as well as having meters that show more interval data, customers will know what they’re using on a day to day basis, which will help eliminate some of the water waste,” Kacprowicz said.

Looking at a single-person household, the average person uses roughly 750 gallons of water each month, which comes down to 25 gallons per day.

“We may turn on the water, then turn around and open the refrigerator,” Windsor said. “You don’t use much water in a short period of time, but that adds up over the month.”

The new bills will have information on the front and back. The front will include the total amount of the bill.  A table of information regarding "metered" services, water and electric, will show the previous and current readings with the total usage for each service.  Graphs for both water and electric with up to 24 months of information will also be included.  

The back of the bill will have a detail for each charge.  For example, Windsor said, in the summer residential electric customers pay what is called a “base charge" (non-consumption related cost just for having service) plus four different consumption charges depending on how much their usage is. The new bill will show each customer the usage amount and the associated charge.

The pilot project comes at a time when overall water usage is down in Columbia, according to Columbia Water and Light Utility Financial Manager Jim Windsor said.

James Patterson and Brittany Crocker assisted with data analytics.  

 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Tuesday's Presidential debate was different than years past and not just because there was no crowd in... More >>
9 minutes ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 5:49:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
(CNN) - The Senate on Wednesday approved a stopgap spending bill in order to avert a government shutdown just hours... More >>
10 minutes ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 5:47:04 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Missouri Head Football Coach Eliah Drinkwitz drew attention on Wednesday when he spoke up about the SEC's lack of... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 3:33:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in Sports
MIDWAY - A string of burglaries and larcenies have impacted more than a dozen properties around the Midway area. ... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 3:16:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
MARSHALL- Marshall Public Schools went remote Wednesday, after Superintendent Dr. Carol Maher met with her team and decided COVID-19 numbers... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 1:42:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
NASHVILLE (AP) — The NFL says the Pittsburgh-Tennessee game originally scheduled for Sunday will be played either Monday or Tuesday... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 12:26:34 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in Sports
(CNN) -- After a five-month battle with leukemia, the first known person to be cured of HIV has died of... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 11:49:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
CENTRALIA - The sweet smells of lavender and grass hang heavily over Jason Lockwood's workshop. Lockwood and his wife... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
SEDALIA - Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada confirmed that at least 1,200 blank absentee ballots were reported missing Wednesday... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 9:48:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- The global pandemic has stress levels running high these days. "One of the first things on everyone's... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 9:44:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy plunged at a record rate in the spring but is poised to swing to... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:27:48 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
PARIS (AP) — Saying she is “struggling to walk,” Serena Williams ended her latest bid for a 24th Grand Slam... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:00:39 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
(CNN) — The World Health Organization has announced an agreement to make rapid Covid-19 tests available to lower and middle-income... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 7:39:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Previous coverage: ... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 6:16:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
Columbia College launches a virtual tutoring program Columbia College is launching a virtual tutoring program on Thursday, October 1.... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 5:26:22 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
CLEVELAND (AP) — The first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden deteriorated into bitter taunts and... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 4:36:09 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia League of Women Voters and the Daniel Boone Regional Library will co-host an Election Forum webinar... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 3:52:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA, MO - Columbia College is launching a virtual tutoring program on Thursday, October 1. The program will serve students... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, September 29 2020 Sep 29, 2020 Tuesday, September 29, 2020 10:35:00 PM CDT September 29, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 72°
6pm 67°
7pm 63°
8pm 58°
9pm 56°