Frequently Asked Questions
Water Service FAQs
As a tenant, in order to start new services, you will need to provide tenant verification and a copy of a photo ID. Tenant verification can be made with a signed Tenant Verification Form or a copy of your signed lease (with both signatures) . You can send copies by fax to (515) 323-6260 or email clear scanned copies/photos of the documents to email@example.com.
Water meters measure water consumption in either cubic feet or gallons, depending on the make and model. In Des Moines, water meters measure in cubic feet, so this unit of measure is used to generate your water bill. Other communities, such as Pleasant Hill, use gallons.
It's easy to convert cubic feet to gallons by multiplying the number of cubic feet by 7.5. Here is an example:
150 cubic feet x 7.5 gallons per cubic foot = approximately 1,125 gallons
You also may want to check for dripping faucets. A simple washer replacement is often an easy, inexpensive repair that can eliminate drips in faucets.
Another way to check for evidence of leaks is to read your water meter before going to bed at night. Check it again first thing in the morning. If the reading has increased and no water was used during the night, you may have a leak. Remember to account for icemakers, humidifiers, or other appliances that operate during the night hours.
Lastly, never underestimate the amount of water that is consumed for normal, everyday tasks around the home. Here are some average water consumption amounts for routine household tasks:
- Shower: 25-50 gallons (5-10 gallons/minute)
- Bath: 36 gallons (full tub)
- Toilet flush: 5-7 gallons (less with new low-flow toilets!)
- Brushing teeth: 2 gallons (tap running)
- Hand washing: 2 gallons (tap running)
- Shaving: 3-5 gallons (tap running)
- Dish washing: 20 gallons (tap running)
- Automatic dishwasher: 12 gallons (full cycle)
- Clothes washer: 30-60 gallons (full cycle)
- Outdoor watering: 5-10 gallons per minute
Occasionally, we are unable to read your water meter. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but generally it indicates a problem with your water meter or the meter reading receptacle on the side of your house. In many cases, this corrects itself and we are able to read your meter the next month.
When we are unable to obtain an actual meter reading, we calculate an estimate of your typical water usage. In most cases, a customer will only receive an estimated bill once or twice. Once an actual read is obtained, your account is "trued up." The estimated amount is deducted from your account and a new actual bill is generated. Your payments are applied to this new amount and a new balance is calculated.
A stop box is a valve located between the water main and your home. Often, you can see a metal cap approximately 4-6 inches in diameter in your lawn near the street or in your sidewalk or driveway. Stop boxes allow DMWW employees to turn off the water to your home.
Most often, this is done at the homeowner's request so plumbing repairs can be made or when someone is moving out of the property and wants the water service terminated. On rare occasions, DMWW will turn off the water to a property due to a payment collection issue.
To avoid having your water cut off, please contact us to make payment arrangements if you are unable to pay your bill in a timely fashion. If it is not operational (after many years, they can corrode and break), the homeowner is responsible for repairing the stop box as well as the service line from the home to the water main. Des Moines Water Works maintains and repairs the water main, as well as the water meter and meter reading equipment.
If your water meter does not seem to be operating properly, or if it is leaking, call DMWW at (515) 283-8700 to report the problem. We will ask you several clarifying questions to determine if a service call is needed. If so, we will be happy to set up a mutually convenient time for us to check the meter and solve the problem.
In most service areas, DMWW uses an automated meter reading technology, called fixed base radio frequency. These systems use a radio signal and cell phone technology to provide us with your water meter reading twice each day. This information is then used to generate your water bill. While this reading method is used for most customers' meters, there are small pockets of our service area that continue to be read manually by a meter reader.
Please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700 one working day prior to the day you will need water service. In most cases, you do not need to visit our office to stop or transfer water service.
Des Moines Water Works requires someone to be at the property when water service is turned on to protect your property when water is restored. We need to be sure no faucets were left on and that no leaking occurs when the service is restored. No one has to be home when we terminate water service because these same risks do not apply. Upon request, DMWW offers a written liability release that can be signed by the property owner (i.e., tenants are not eligible to sign) indicating they assume all risk for damages that could occur. If this waiver is received by DMWW, we will restore water without requiring somebody to be at the property.
While we are committed to restoring your water service the same day payment is received, DMWW cannot schedule specific times for same day service orders, nor can we offer a 15 minute courtesy notice. Previously scheduled orders take precedence over same day orders. Service orders to restore water service that has been terminated for non-payment are called out to our field staff throughout the day, and we appreciate the flexibility to work these orders into our schedule with the greatest efficiency and least interruption to other customers.
If your circumstances don’t require that water be restored the same day, we can offer more precise scheduling and advance notice if water is restored the following business day.
Please call Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700 to report water in the street. Our Water Distribution team can determine the cause and arrange for any necessary repairs. With early detection, a repair can be made more quickly.
Des Moines Water Works strives to maintain the total hardness of the drinking water to less than 150 mg/L or 8.76 grains. There are no adverse health effects associated with exceeding this level, however excessive hardness may adversely impact your home plumbing. Up-to-date hardness information can be found on the Water Quality page.
Other Services FAQs
Des Moines Water Works is the billing and collection agent for the City of Des Moines which is why garbage charges are shown on your DMWW statement; however the City of Des Moines performs all the administration for garbage toters and recycling receptacles. Please call (515) 283-4950 for any assistance regarding these toters.
DMWW is the billing and collection agent for the City of Des Moines which is why stormwater charges are shown on your DMWW statement, but the Des Moines City Council oversees and directs the stormwater utility. The Des Moines City Council enacted the Stormwater Utility in 1995 to provide funding for the maintenance of existing stormwater facilities and for the construction of new facilities. The fee is paid by all residents, businesses, governmental agencies, and tax-exempt organizations because the benefits are system wide; that is, all within the City benefit from some part of the stormwater system even if there is no storm facility in the immediate vicinity of the residence or business.
Bill Payment FAQs
By using your online account or calling to speak with a customer service representative, you can pay your bill from the convenience of your home with a Visa or Mastercard or electronic check. Please note that payments made by credit card are subject to a $2.75 convenience fee, while electronic checks can be made at no cost. Learn more about all our Payment Options.
Yes, for information on AutoPay, please view our Payment Options.