Water Rates 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. 2.5 gallons cost one cent. As measured by your water meter, 100 cubic feet (748 gallons) cost $1.78. 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. 

Residential customers are billed quarterly; most commercial accounts are billed monthly. 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.

Here are two charts that show water service charges as they apply to customers billed quarterly and monthly and according to the size of the water meter. The charts also show water usage charges per 100 Ccf and per 1,000 gallons.

The Milwaukee Water Works uses a declining block rate in which cost per unit of volume decreases with usage. This rate structure is appropriate where there is an abundant, renewable supply of water, Lake Michigan, and all water is returned to the lake. The utility has more than adequate 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 the first step of a rate adjustment 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.

We are now in a regular rate case to provide a second step of a rate adjustment which would take effect sometime next fall. 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 utilities in Brown Deer, Butler, Greendale, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, New Berlin, Shorewood, Thiensville, Wauwatosa, West Allis, and the Milwaukee County Grounds. Those utilities bill their customers. 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.