13 Investigates


Sky high water bill leads to major mystery

Posted at 4:48 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-08 21:28:40-05

There is a real mystery growing in Ft. Apache Ranch near Grand Teton and Ft. Apache.

Who, or what, used hundreds of gallons of water?
"Looking at the highest bill we had, we're looking at more than 800 gallons of average daily usage of water," said Kevin Neiswonger.

Kevin Neiswonger and Rebecca Spilman say there is no explanation they can find for the missing water.

The problem started in May 2017, when the water bill began to spike. Records provided to Contact 13, show months of steady usage. The bill normally came in between $30-$40 per month, according to Neiswonger.

Suddenly, the usage ticked up. For 3 months, the water bill came in much higher than normal.

"After speaking with the water company just now, they agree with me, that there is no explanation for these anomalies," said Neiswonger.

Rebecca and Kevin launched their own investigation to get to the bottom of their water woes.

They even performed what is called the 5 gallon test.

This is conducted by checking your water meter, and making note of the "gallons used reading."

Next, fill a 5 gallon container of water.

Once complete, check the water meter to ensure it measured 5 gallons of water.

Rebecca and Kevin's meter appeared to be accurate while Contact 13 observed the test on Wednesday.

Kevin says no leaks have been detected.

Contact 13 spoke to the Las Vegas Valley Water District and a spokesperson said, after a thorough review of Rebecca and Kevin's bill, they point to a potential landscaping water issue.

Corey Enus said it appeared the daily water usage followed a pattern, leading investigators to believe an automated watering schedule may be the water waster.

Kevin and Rebecca said that scenario does not make sense to them. They said their landscaper has inspected the schedule and confirmed the system was calibrated properly and no malfunctions were detected.

For now, the bill has returned to normal without any explanation.

The Las Vegas Valley Water District said issues like these appear from time to time. The vast majority of high water bills are the result of a undetected leak. 

A spokesperson said there is a 3 layer protection system in place for customers to help ensure proper meter readings and to detect leaks.

Those protections include:

  • Analog dial on the meter, which acts like a vehicle odometer to measure gallons used.
  • A digital component which uses a radio signal to send meter readings to a LVVWD work vehicle as it drives by a property.
  • LVVWD uses a 'trickle report' to send an alert to staff in the event there is continuous usage over a 24 hour period.

If you experience an abnormally high water bill you can visit the Las Vegas Valley Water District's website.

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