City of Newberg releases Equal Pay, a plan that spreads out payments over a year

Traditionally, residents use more water during the spring and summer months than during the autumn and winter. The city of Newberg decided to help ease the pain of higher water bills during the peak season months by providing a new option to pay water and sewer bills called "Equal Pay."

It is estimated that a person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day. When it is warmer customers tend to use more water for gardening, filling pools, taking extra showers; usage typically increases an average of about 40 percent. As a result, water and sewer bills tend to increase and sometimes bills can double.

In order to enroll in the Equal Pay program, Newberg ratepayers must have a zero balance on their account, a good payment history, be enrolled in a direct payment plan or auto pay, and be a resident for 12 continuous months.

The charges are based on consumption each month and a water service charge is tacked on for water treatment. A sewer charge is based on the volume of water used for the winter months, known as "winter averaging," along with a service charge.

To help reduce one's bill, the city recommended some tips for reducing water usage during the summer months: sweep rather than hose down your driveway; water gardens during cool times of the day to reduce evaporation; water deeply and less frequently to encourage plants and lawns to grow deeper roots and be more resilient to dry times; increase the height of your lawn mower cut because taller grass helps trap moisture better.

For inside the home, scrape plates clean instead of rinsing and run the dishwasher only when it is full; take short showers instead of baths and turn off the water while brushing teeth; don't use running water to thaw food; soak pots rather than scrubbing then under running water; rinse vegetables in a container and use the water again in the garden.

Check for leaks around your home by first shutting off all water-using devices in and around the home. Find the water meter and lift the cover to read the dial. Write down the position and check again in 30 minutes. If the dial has moved, there is most likely a leak.

Toilets can have a silent leak, drop a little food coloring into the tank and wait about 10 minutes without flushing. If color appears in the bowl, there is a leak.

Another tip is to replace washers on dripping faucets, which can use as much as 170 gallons of water each day or 5,000 gallons each month.

To enroll in Equal Pay, visit the city's website at

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