In providing essential drinking water, wastewater and reclaimed-water services to you, OWASA charges “cost-of-service” rates. When we say “cost-of-service,” we mean that your monthly bill totals the full cost we incur to provide service to you. As a non-profit, the sum total of all the bills we collect from all of our customers across the community equals the cost of keeping the entire OWASA system running.


About My Bill

Your bill statement contains a lot of information. In summary, four basic charges make up your monthly bill:

  1. Fixed drinking water service charge
  2. A volume-based drinking water usage charge
  3. A fixed wastewater service charge
  4. A volume-based wastewater usage charge

We set these rates each October, based on the need to generate sufficient revenue to cover OWASA’s costs of operations, including infrastructure improvements and other system projects.

What Your Monthly Bill Looks Like

Want to see a sample of what your monthly bill will look like? Click below to better understand all of the information you can find on your bill.


If you receive monthly bills from a third-party, private company:

Nearly 10,000 multi-family units in our service area are re-billed for their water use using a practice called sub-metering. These customers receive a bill from a third-party for their water and sewer use. Third-party billing is regulated by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.


Bill Payment Options

We offer many different ways to pay your bill, from automatic drafting to paying in person, as well as paperless billing notices.


Read more about your bill payment options.


Basic Information About My Bill

Account Number

Your account number is a 14-digit code by which we can track your water use. As you can see on your bill, your account number is broken up into two parts. The first eight digits, which start with 05, 06, 07, 08, or 20, make up the unique number for the physical location where you receive service. We may refer to this number as the “Location ID.” You will need to have this eight-digit number handy to retrieve information if you call customer service. The next six digits following your Location ID are your unique Customer ID number. This number is associated with any location where you receive our services.

Usage (1000s)

This figure indicates the volume of your drinking water and wastewater use per thousands of gallons for the billing period. We round down our meter readings to the nearest 1,000 gallons. For example, if we show the number 2 in the Usage box on our bill, it is for 2,000 gallons of drinking water and wastewater use for that month. If you’re a residential customer, you use roughly 4,000 gallons of water per month, so many times, you will typically see a 4 in the Usage box on your bill.

Current Readings/Previous Readings

These figures represent the most recent and previous readings taken from our meter. We determine your usage based on the difference between these two figures. The difference between these numbers is your volume of water use between the two meter readings in thousands of gallons. For example, if the Current Reading from the meter was 12 and the Previous Reading was 8, the difference of 4 indicates that 4,000 gallons went through your meter between readings — in other words, you used 4,000 gallons that month.

If you live in a single-family home, as well as some apartments, condominiums and townhouses, you live at what we call an individually-metered residence. Simply put, your water service depends on readings from just one meter.

Your drinking water and wastewater-usage charges are based on what we call “increasing-block” water conservation rates. Increasing-block rates are based on the total volume of drinking water usage per month. You might consider each “block” sort of like a tax bracket, but, again, based off your monthly volume of water and sewage used. The basic rate increases as your monthly water usage jumps into a higher “block,” or bracket, just like your income taxes. Blocks for drinking-water use are grouped in chunks of thousands, ranging from 0-2,000 gallons per month, up to 16,000+ gallons used per month. We do not charge for more than 15,000 gallons of wastewater usage, but the typical household will never use that much per month.

When calculating your usage fees, we round drinking water and wastewater usage down to the nearest thousand, and we bill per thousand gallons used. Remaining unbilled amounts carry over to the next month. A typical household uses, on average, about 4,000 gallons of drinking water.

Businesses, apartment complexes and other such premises within our service area use water differently than single-family homes do. Thus, different rates, fees and charges apply.

As opposed to a typical household, which relies on an individual meter for water services, many other properties rely on one or a few meters (called master meters) to serve multiple customers.

When it comes to water-usage rates for shared-meter premises, they differ from the residential figures significantly, but in a simple way. For most businesses, agencies and other properties using shared master meters, our “seasonal” water conservation rates apply. These rates shift twice during the year — from May through September, our “peak” seasonal rate is in effect, while an “off-peak” seasonal water rate lowers the cost from October through April. We enforce these seasonal changes due to the need to conserve more water during the summer.

Nearly 10,000 multi-family units, such as apartment complexes or townhome communities, receive private water bills from a third party, despite residing within OWASA’s service area and receiving our services. Under North Carolina law, multi-tenant property owners meeting certain requirements may bill residents for their proportional share of the cost of water and wastewater service from OWASA.

System Development Fees for Water Service Installations


Water & Sewer System Development Fee Study

March 6, 2018

Read the full summary and details of OWASA rates & fees.


Bills When Our Rates Change

As needed, our rates may change annually each October in order to generate sufficient revenue to cover OWASA’s costs of operations, capital improvements and debt service. For commercial customers, who pay “seasonal” water rates, our rates also change in May and October, due to transitions between our peak seasonal water rate (for May through September) and off-peak water rate (October through April). Additionally, some surcharges may go into effect during droughts.

When a rate change occurs, we prorate your bills. For example, if our rates change on October 1 and a customer is billed for service from September 16 to October 15, we charge for half of our service at the old rates and half at the new rates.

Regional Utility Rates

Are you curious about how our rates compare with other areas both in the Triangle and in the state of North Carolina?

Comparison of Water & Sewer Bills in the Triangle

as of January 2019


Information on Water & Sewer Rates

in North Carolina


Lake Recreation Fees

Boating, kayaking, fishing and more — both University Lake and Cane Creek Reservoir are open to the public for recreation in 2019 between March 23 and November 10.

For all of our recreation fees, we accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and checks with proper identification. An identification card with a photo is required for renting a boat. We accept identification cards from the Faith ID Network. The minimum age for renting a boat is 16.

ServiceOWASA Customer or County ResidentOther Citizens
Lake Use Fee: Ages 13-64$4.50 per Person$5.50 per Person
Lake Use Fee: Child (under 13)$2 per Person$2.50 per Person
Lake Use Fee: Senior Citizen (65+)Free$2.50 per Person
Boat Rental (Flat-Bottom or Canoe)$4.50 + Lake Use Fee per Person$8 + Lake Use Fee per Person
Kayak Rental$15 + Lake Use Fee per Person$20 + Lake Use Fee per Person
Private Boat Launch Fee (for Inspection By OWASA)$3.50 + Lake Use Fee per Person$7 + Lake Use Fee per Person
Electric Trolling Motor Rental$15$22
Individual Pass for Boat Rental$82Not Offered
Individual Lake Use Pass: Ages 13-64$46
Individual Boat & Electric Motor Rental Pass$163
GROUP Boat Rental Pass (Three People)$163
GROUP Boat & Electric Motor Rental Pass (Three People)$245