- 5 min read
- The first step in paying water bills is knowing what you owe and who it's owed to.
- Periodically check your water bill for accuracy. Check to see the due date.
- Avoid late fees by using auto bill pay services.
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Paying utility bills on time is important for avoiding interruptions in service. Timely bill payments can also help you to sidestep late fees or reconnection fees.
If your list of utility bills includes water service, paying your water bill is typically a painless process. Your options might include online payments or in-person payments, depending on who provides your water service.
Check Your Water Bills
When you sign up for water service, your provider should send you a regular bill. Your water bill might arrive monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly, depending on your water company.
The first step in paying water bills is knowing what you owe and who it's owed to. You'll want to get your most recent water bill and review the following:
- Balance due
- Payment due date
- Biller name
- Accepted payment methods
If you can't find a recent copy of your water bill to pay, you can contact the water company to get your most recent balance and due date.
While you're checking your water bills for payment details, you might also want to take a look at your usage. For example, reviewing water bills for the previous six to 12 months can help you see if you're using more or less water each month, which can directly affect your utility costs.
Pro tip: Setting up payment reminders through online banking or an online calendar can make it easier to keep track of water bill due dates.
Ways to Pay Your Water Bill
Your water company might offer numerous ways to pay water bill balances, including:
- Online bill pay. Online bill pay is one of the easiest ways to pay a water bill. You can log in to online banking, add your biller information, and schedule a water bill payment. Online bill pay is convenient for one-time water bill payments or for setting up recurring automatic payments.
- ACH withdrawal. If your water company offers an online bill payment portal, one of your payment options might be ACH withdrawal. To pay your water bill via ACH, you'd need to enter your bank routing number and account number to process the payment. You might use ACH to pay your water bill if your water company charges a fee to process credit card or debit card payments.
- Credit card. Using a credit card to pay water bills could make sense if you typically pay bills with a credit card or you want to earn a few extra credit card reward points. As mentioned, your water company may charge a processing fee to pay online or over the phone with a credit card.
- Debit card. Water companies can accept debit card payments, so your bill amount is drafted out of your bank account or deducted from your balance if you use a prepaid debit card. You may be able to use your debit card to pay online, over the phone, or in person at the water company.
- Check. Writing a check might seem a little old-fashioned, but it's still an accepted payment method at many utility providers. If you plan to write a check to pay your water bill and mail it in, remember to give yourself a few extra days before the due date to ensure that it arrives on time.
- Cash. Water companies generally don't allow you to mail in cash to pay your water bill. But you might be able to pay with cash in person at your local water company office.
Setting up automatic payments from your bank account might be the easiest of these options. Having the payment drafted from your account can simplify budgeting, and you don't have to worry about paying bills late.
Example: Paying a Water Bill to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection
New York City residents pay water bills to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). New York offers residents four ways to pay their water bills:
- Over the phone
- By mail
For example, let's say you want to pay your water bill online. To do that, you'd first need to sign up for a My DEP Account, if you don't have one already. You'll need your account number and an activation token to create your account. You can find both on a copy of your water bill.
Once you create your account, you can log in to view your bill and schedule a payment. You can pay your water bill using a credit card or debit card, or set up an ACH withdrawal from your checking account.
Paying by phone is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. DEP does charge a convenience fee for credit card and debit card phone payments. The fee is 2.25%, so it could make sense to use your checking account to pay if you'd like to avoid the added cost.
You can also mail in a check or pay in person with cash, a check, or money order. Mailed payments can be sent to the NYC Water Board, while in-person payments can be made at DEP borough offices or at the city’s Department of Finance business centers.
Water Bill Assistance Programs
Can't pay your water bill? It's possible that you may qualify for water assistance through federal or state programs, or through your water company.
For example, residents of New York State can apply for help through the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). This program provides benefits to the household's water or sewer provider and is designed to help make up unpaid bills.
Eligibility is based on your income, household size, and how much is owed to your water provider. You might qualify for assistance if you:
- Are a U.S. citizen, U.S. National, or qualified alien (or someone in your household is)
- Have a gross monthly income that's at, or below, the established guidelines for your household size
- Receive Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or Temporary Assistance (TA) OR
- Receive a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and pay a vendor directly for water/sewer usage and your account is 20 days or more past due, you have a water lien, or your service has been terminated or disconnected
You can apply for LIHWAP online if you have an NY.gov ID, which you can create for free. You can also mail in your application.
If you're not eligible for water assistance programs in your area, you can try reaching out to your water company directly. It may be able to offer solutions, such as a flexible payment plan or deferred payments. And there might be local nonprofits that offer water bill assistance for people experiencing a temporary hardship.
Can I pay my water bill online?
Yes, if your water company accepts online payments. You may be able to schedule your payment through your bank's online bill-pay service or through the water provider's online bill-payment portal.
Can I use a credit card to pay water bills?
Yes, assuming your water company accepts them as a form of payment. Keep in mind that your water company might charge a processing fee for credit card or debit card payments.
How can I save money on water bills?
Reducing your water usage can help with saving money on water bills. For example, turning off the sink while brushing teeth, only running full loads in the dishwasher, and taking shorter showers can all help to conserve water and potentially reduce costs.