How do I calculate my water bill?

For current water rates, click here ► |  Download Sample Bill here ►.

Step 1: Begin with your base charge. For current water rates, click here ►.

Step 2: Next, add your water charges. These are based on the amount of water you used, and water rates are different for different levels of consumption.

Step 3: Combine your base charge and your water charge.

Step 4: Multiply this figure by 0.04 to determine the amount of your 4% Utility Tax.

Step 5: Add your base charge, water charges and utility tax totals together. This is the amount of your Total Water Charges. 

If you are a sewer customer, add the sewer charges from the sewer side of your bill to determine the Total Account Balance. 

PLEASE NOTE: Birmingham Water Works does not set sewer rates. For questions about your sewer bill, contact your sewer service provider.

What is the base service charge?

This charge is designed to recover certain fixed cost including: 1) meter reading, billing, collection and customer service costs;  2) a portion of fixed operational costs; and 3) a portion of debt service costs.  In other words, it covers the cost to provide the basic facilities required to serve the customer (“readiness to serve cost”) whether the customer uses any water or not.

How does the Birmingham Water Works know how much water I use?

Homes and businesses have a water meter that measures the amount of water used.  A person from the Birmingham Water Works reads the meter on a regular schedule (usually monthly). The previous reading is subtracted from the current reading to determine the amount of water used. 

How do I read my meter?

Your water meter is usually located near the curb in a meter box. The meter box should have a lid on it, similar to this:




You can pry the lid to the meter box open with a screwdriver. Once you have opened the lid, you will see your water meter. 

Your meter has a number displayed similar to the one pictured here. 

Read the number from left to right. Numbers with a black background are not used in the calculation of your monthly water consumption and should be disregarded. Subtract the previous meter reading (provided in your statement) from your current observation. The results will indicate the amount of water used (in hundred cubic feet). To convert this usage to gallons, multiply the amount by 748.1.

What if I do not receive a bill, do I still have to pay my monthly water bill?

Yes, if you do not receive a bill, you are still responsible for paying water charges. Please call (205) 244-4000 to request a bill.