Phoenix neighbors worried about water waste and rising bills

by Monique Griego, KPNX

PHOENIX – When Jim Prindle notified the City of Phoenix about a water main leak on his street, he knew it might take some time, possibly a few days, to get it fixed.

“It began as a slow leak and progressively over time became a more severe leak,” Prindle said.

That was more than three months ago.

“I’d seen city crews out looking at it, but nothing was done,” Prindle told 12 News.

Prindle went on to show us two other water main leaks within a few blocks of his home near 16th Street AND Hatcher road.

“Twenty-four hours and it doesn’t stop,” said Josie Munguia as she pointed a crack in the asphalt with water running out of it and down the street.

Neighbors on East Mountain View Road say a leak there leak has also been open for a couple months.

Munguia, however, is concerned about much more than wasted water. She believes the leak could also be draining people’s bank accounts.

“I get so stressed about my bill when I see the water. I just hope I don’t get a big bill,” she said.

According to neighbors, this same water main line has cracked open in the past.

When it happened back in 2015, Munguia says she noticed her water bills started rising.

She says at first she explained things away, but then in August of that year, her usage suddenly jumped from around 10,000 gallons to more than 50,000.

She showed us the paper bill she received for over $300, more than triple what she usually pays.

“It was like 52,000 gallons or something,” she said, “which was impossible, but they said no, that my bill was my bill and it (the leak) had nothing to do with it.”

With this latest leak, Munguia says her bills have spiked, but she wanted to alert neighbors to check for any discrepancies on their bills.

12 News contacted the City of Phoenix regarding the water issues.

In a statement, a city spokesperson acknowledged there are five active leaks in the area but said due to the large number of residential water service lines in the city — around 430,000 — they have to prioritize repairs.

As for any bill issues, the city says a leak on city property has no effect on customer bills.