Management experts and others in the real estate industry are always cautioning their co-op
and condo clients to keep an eye on the water consumption in their buildings. The water and sewage bill received quarterly from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) typically eats away a large portion of the building's operating budget. Though water and sewage rates show no signs of going down, your building can reduce expenses if it develops an awareness of conservation measures and the willingness to implement savvy new strategies.
Prices Creeping Up
Would you leave your 19-inch color TV running 24 hours a day? asks Bob Bellini, Jr., vice president of Varsity Plumbing in Flushing, New York. If your kitchen faucet drips every 20 or 30 seconds 24 hours a day over the course of a year, the cost would be the same as the electricity you would spend by never turning off the television set. Approximately $230 a year. According to Bellini, one running faucet in one unit can cost a mid-sized building as much as $1,500 a year. In fact, in one mid-sized Queens co-op, leaks comprised 37 percent of the water bill. By eliminating these leaks, the building now sees an annual savings of $125,000 a year.
In 1980 water and sewer charges per 100 cubic feet of water, or 748 gallons, was 66 cents, recalls Philip Kraus, president of Fred Smith Plumbing and Heating Corporation, Inc. in Manhattan. Since then the price has gone up on an almost yearly basis at a rate of approximately six percent a year. As of July 1, 1997, water rates were $3.16 per 100 cubic feet of water.