Reducing Water Costs Timely Ideas for Co-ops and Condos

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.


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  • How to make water charges more equitable, when you have a majority of 1 or 2 people in 1 bed 1 bath Apts., and also have 3,4,5, people/children in 3 bedroom 3 bath Apts. in the same pre-war co-op . Surely this problem has been addressed with out going to the cost of individual meters, which in a prewar building would be impossiby costly, perhaps by a surcharge of some sort? Please ideas, answers, am desperate! it is so unfair!
  • I live in a coop townhouse in NYC and have an meter and my own water account with DEP and up to date with my account. DEP continues puts my property on a Leon because one or my lot members are not up to date with their account. What is the sense of having my own account with DEP if I’m going to be held responsible for some one else’s account. My coop doors not have a master netter neither do they have a water account withDEP. How can I rectify this situation