Water Usage and Service Charges

Milwaukee's water rates are determined by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) and are intended to ensure the financial stability of the utility and fair value for customers.

Milwaukee water is an excellent value. Including the water service charge, fire protection charge, and water use charge, two gallons cost one cent. As measured by your water meter in 100 cubic feet (Ccf), one Ccf (748 gallons) costs $1.96. How much water is one Ccf?  One cubic foot is a 1’ x 1’ x 1’ box (the size that U Haul provides for packing books) so 100 cubic feet is 100 of those boxes. The typical person in Milwaukee uses 10 Ccf (100 cubic feet) of water per quarter. Multiply 10 by the number of people in your household to give you the number of Ccf for water used in one quarter (for example, 4 people x 10 = 40 Ccf). If you are using more than 10 ccf per person per quarter, you may have water leaks.

Residential customers are billed quarterly. Most commercial accounts are billed monthly. The charges you pay for water to the Milwaukee Water Works are a Water Service Charge and a Water Usage Charge. The Water Service Charge is based on the size of the water meter. Meters sized 5/8" or 3/4" are used in single family homes and duplexes. Commercial and industrial meters range from 1" to 12".

Water service charges as they apply to each of the different meter sizes are found in these charts. The first page applies to customers billed quarterly (residential and some commercial customers). The second page applies to customers who are billed monthly (commercial and industrial users). The lower half of each page shows the Water Usage Charge. The Water Usage Charge is $1.78 per Ccf. Our water meters measure water usage in Ccf, but we have included in this chart the Water Usage Charge calculated for usage in gallons.

In the section detailing the Water Usage Charge, we have included the "steps" of the Declining Block Rate. This rate applies to large users of water such as commercial and industrial customers, not residential customers. The declining block rate lowers the Water Usage Charge as the customer uses larger volumes of water. This rate structure is appropriate where there is an abundant, renewable supply of water, Lake Michigan, and all water is returned to the lake. We have more than adequate water treatment and distribution capacity so there is no need to build or expand facilities to meet demand.

A public water utility belongs to all of us, its ratepayers. Water rates, not taxes, pay the costs to purify and pump the water and keep treatment plants and pipes, the infrastructure, in reliable working condition. As a non-profit agency, we do not pay shareholders, but continuously reinvest in our utility.

The Milwaukee Water Works completed a simple rate case with rates effective June 1, 2014. Find the PSC documents for the case, 3720-WQ-104, here. Copies are available at our Customer Service Center, 841 N. Broadway, Fourth floor. In the 2014 rate case, the PSC retained the original Rules and Regulations Governing Water Service submitted in 2002 and updated in 2007, so the information presented here remains ins effect.

The PSC will issue a decision soon in regard to a full rate case. Find all documents related to this case at the PSC website. Enter Case number 3720-WR-108 or Utility Name: Milwaukee Water Works.

The Milwaukee Water Works provides drinking water service and billing for Milwaukee, Greenfield, Hales Corners, St. Francis, and West Milwaukee. We sell water service on a wholesale basis to Brown Deer, Butler, Franklin, Greendale, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, New Berlin, Shorewood, Thiensville, Wauwatosa, West Allis, and the Milwaukee County Grounds. The wholesale communities bill their customers for water service. Contact the municipal office in these municipalities for information about water charges.

pop-upHydrant and Water Connection Charges

Current rates for hydrant permits, water connection permits, and other water services took effect May 1, 2011. Water service permits are available from the Department of City Development Permit Center. Call (414) 286-8208 or email. Or, apply online for an ePermit.