Complaints pour in over high water bills in Ahwatukee

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AHWATUKEE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Bobbi Wells is still trying to figure it out.

A recent water bill from the city of Phoenix nearly doubled, from $268 to $512.

"After living in this house for three years we've never seen a bill like that," said Wells. "It would not just double; no way. There are two of us living here and we know exactly how much water we use."

Wells is among a growing number of Ahwatukee homeowners who have seen an unexpected spike in water usage and the problem is blowing up on social media.

One homeowner posted on Next Door that her bill went from "$400 to $1,500."

Another was told he used "119,800 gallons in one month"

A third homeowner said, "Everything sounds fishy."

But City of Phoenix assistant water services director Jim Swanson said there's nothing fishy going on at all.

According to Swanson, their data shows no real change in water usage in Ahwatukee from last summer to this summer and meter malfunctions are rare.

So how do you explain the higher bills?

Swanson said in most cases homeowners use more water in the summer than they realize for things like landscaping and the pool.

Leaks in irrigation systems are also fairly common.

"If you're an HOA that has an irrigation meter, that could easily be 10,000 gallons if you have a leak," said Swanson. "If you're a customer and you have a small leak, that could be 10,000 gallons."

City officials met Thursday with members of the Foothills Gateway HOA, and assured them that they would investigate the high water bills.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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