SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Those hefty water bills we showed you on Thursday popped plenty of eyes in dry neighborhoods of Sioux Falls.
The highest water bill topped $2,400. But most homeowners are far more moderate in their use of sprinklers this summer.
The price of water is very fluid for Sioux Falls homeowners; the larger the volume, the more you're charged.
Most homeowners don't pay a rate higher than $3.56 for every 100 cubic feet of water. But homeowners who measure their water usage in hundreds of thousands of gallons a month pay nearly three times that amount.
Kim Eggebraaten and her family are packing up for a Labor Day weekend getaway on the lake. But there's no escaping higher than usual water bills this dry summer.
"The last one I want to say is around $180, so it seems like a little high anyway, also," Eggebraaten said.
Eggebraaten was surprised to learn that some homeowners run up water bills over $2,000 a month.
"It seems a bit excessive, but I guess it depends upon the size of their lawn and how big of an area they're watering, but it seemed like a lot," Eggebraaten said.
Water usage in Sioux Falls can vary from neighborhood-to-neighborhood and even right down to yard-to-yard.
"I don't know if there is a typical homeowner because your usage is going to be based upon whether you're applying anything to the exterior of your lawn, garden," Sioux Falls Public Works Business Operations Manager Dean Borchardt said.
Borchardt says high-volume users aren't being irresponsible in the midst of a drought because paying more for water is their personal choice. The city's escalating rate system is set up so the thirstiest lawns can soak up as much water as they need, for a price.
"We don't want to make it so it's cheap so you use an overabundant amount, we want to preserve our resources to the best of our ability," Borchardt said.
The highest water bill in the city used more than 230,000 gallons last month.
Less than one percent of Sioux Falls homeowners fall into that top tier of water usage. Ninety-five percent of homeowners are in the two lowest tiers.
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