Utility FAQ

Please pick the sub-category that your question is in. Select the question to see the answer.

Water Account:



Water Conservation:



Water Leak:



Water/Wastewater Lines:



Wastewater:




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Water Account:



1. How do I read my water meter?
  • In Rio Rancho, most water meters are located in the front yard. In the older subdivisions, the meter is under a round, plastic or metal lid.In the newer subdivisions, the meter is under a rectangular, gray fiberglass lid and you might share this meter box with your neighbor. However, you do not share the meter itself. Please be careful when opening the lid to the meter. There may be wires attached to the antenna; or spiders, or snakes may be residing in the meter can.
  • Rio Rancho meters read in gallons of water and they resemble a car odometer. The numbers listed below the word “Gallons” are in thousands of gallons that you have used since the meter has been installed. You will read the meter from left to right. See a picture of a Water Meter PDF. You can also use your meter as a leak detector. To find out how to do this please visit our Detect and Fix Leaks page.

2. How do I apply for City water?

3. How do I add someone to my water account?

4. How do I get my water turned back on?

5. How do I sign up for an Automatic Bank Draft?

6. Is there anything I need to do when my new tenants take over the water bill?

7. How do I close my water account?

8. How can I reduce my high water bills?
  • Your high water/wastewater bills can be caused by leaks. If you are not sure if you have a leak please see our Detect and Fix Leaks page for details on how you can use your water meter to help you find common leaks in your home. You can also learn about water conservation method on our Water Conservation page. If you have exhausted the previous avenues then you may need to seek monetary assistance, please see our Water Assistance Programs page.

9. What is a Winter Quarter Average (WQA) and how is it calculated?
  • The Winter Quarter Average (WQA) is calculated by using your water/wastewater utility consumption used during the December, January, and February billing cycle. The WQA is used because it shows indoor domestic water consumption, which irrigation does not interfere with. The WQA is divided by the total amount of service days in the billing cycle to get a daily average usage. The daily average is then multiplied by 30.42, or 30.50 for leap years, to get your monthly average. Once this is calculated the new wastewater rate based off of your WQA is started in March every year. For more information visit our Water, Wastewater, and Recycled Water Rates page.
  • Example of the equation:(C ÷D)×Y =WQA
    • C = Total Consumptions for the WQA billing cycle.
    • D = Total number of days in the WQA billing cycle.
    • Y=daily average multiplication number.
      • Use 30.42 for non-leap years.
      • Use 30.50 for leap years.
    • WQA = this is the gallons per month charged as your wastewater rate for the next year.

10. Why does the City use the December, January, and February billing cycles for the Winter Quarter Average (WQA)?
  • The Winter Quarter Average (WQA) is used because it shows indoor domestic water consumption, which irrigation does not interfere with and it is a lower rate for figuring the average wastewater usage.

11. What if I just moved and do not have a December, January, or February billing cycle for the Winter Quarter Average (WQA)?
  • You will be classified as a new customer. All new residential customer’s wastewater volume charge is based on actual consumption or the class average, whichever is less until the next Winter Quarter Average period. The residential class average is currently four (4) thousand gallons.

12. When does the Winter Quarter Average (WQA) take effect on my bill?
  • The new Winter Quarter Average takes effect in March of every year.

13. How do I get a lower Winter Quarter Average (WQA)?
  • In order to get a lower Winter Quarter Average: start conserving your water in November, fix any leaking toilets or faucets, replace old toilets and washers with high-efficiency ones, and see our Water Conservation page for more information.

Water Conservation:



1. What are some ways that I can conserve water?
  • You can conserve water by detecting and fixing leaks early, replace high water usage appliances with high-efficiency ones, adhere to the water restrictions that are in place, and see about investing in xeriscaping. More detailed information can be found on our Water Conservation page.

2. Where can I find information on rebates?
  • You can find information on our rebates by going to the Rebates page.

3. Where can I find information on xeriscaping?

4. Will the City fill up my pool for me?
  • No, the City will not fill up your pool because the City has to work on conserving water in order to be granted more water rights for the citizens of Rio Rancho.

5. What if I need to drain my pool?
  • You can drain your pool by using the wastewater cleanouts located either in the front or in the rear of your house. These cleanouts are capped.Draining of your pool will take days. By following the above method you will not get a fine for water waste. If you have any questions please call our Environmental Program Manager at (505) 896-8737.

6. What is a Water Variance?
  • A Water Variance is for those who are: repairing or maintaining an irrigation system, have newly landscaped areas, or need a single-day irrigation for the application of chemicals for landscape. This means that those with a granted Water Variance can water outside of the Watering Restrictions.

7. How can I get a Water Variance?
  • If you need a Water Variance you must call the Environmental Programs Section at (505) 896-8737.

Water Leak:



1. What do I do if there is a water leak?
  • The first thing to do is identify if the leak is on your property or in the street. If the leak is on your property you should call a plumber immediately. If the leak is in the road, visit our Report a Water Leak page.

2. Why has no one fixed the leak that I have reported?
  • Once a leak has been reported it is assigned a number. It will take 24 hours before you will see the leak noted on our Active Water Leaks Map. Leaks are fixed in order of priority. Water main leaks are fixed first because of the amount of water loss that happens when a main breaks. Then service lines are fixed and then meter leaks. Service lines and meter leaks have a 48 hour waiting period to allow other Utilities to spot their lines per State Law. Please be patient and know that we will get to the leak as soon as we are able.

3. What is the most common type of water leak?
  • The most common type of water leak in the City comes from the service line. These leaks occur because of the material the line is made of which is polyethylene. These polyethylene lines were used extensively in Rio Rancho by builders and developers because of the high price of copper. Unfortunately, these lines do not survive well with the normal pressure changes throughout its lifetime. These lines are being replaced through our ongoing project known as Water Service Line Replacement Project. This project has several phases in order to replace aging service lines with new copper ones.
  • The most common type of leak in your home is from the toilet or faucets. You can learn how to identify these leaks and how to fix them by visiting our Detect and Fix Leaks page.

4. Why are there more leaks in the summer than in the winter?
  • More leaks occur in the summer because there is a greater demand on the water system for irrigation. As pressure varies from usage, the line develops cracks which then makes it leak.

Water Lines:



1. How do I find out if there is City water or City wastewater available at my property?
  • You must be within City Limits to get access to water/wastewater services. Please call our Utility Engineer Technician at (505) 891-5061 or our Utility Systems Engineer at (505) 891-5046 to find out if water/wastewater is available at your property.

2. Why is the City replacing water service lines?
  • Polyethylene lines were used extensively in Rio Rancho by builders and developers because of the high price of copper. Unfortunately, these lines do not survive well with the normal pressure changes throughout its lifetime. These lines are being replaced through our ongoing project known as Water Service Line Replacement Project. This project has several phases in order to replace aging service lines with new copper ones.

3. Why is my street not on the list to have its water service lines replaced?
  • Water service lines are being replaced through our ongoing project known as the Water Service Line Replacement Project. This project has several phases in order to replace aging service lines with new copper ones. All of the polyethylene pipes in the road will be replaced, as budget allows. The streets with the worst and frequent water leaks that were reported are being taken care of first to reduce the amount of water that is lost. The other streets will be taken care of in order of severity. If you have any questions, please contact Public Works at (505) 891-5016.

4. Can I tie into a City water line if I have a domestic well?
  • If water line infrastructure is constructed on your road, and you already have an existing domestic well, then you can tie into the line at any time. However, if you choose not to tie in, and your domestic well has a catastrophic failure and must be re-drilled, then you are required to tie into the new water line. However, when tying into the new line you will need to fill out the proper forms. For more information please call our Utility Systems Engineer at (505) 891-5046.

5. Can I tie into a City wastewater line if I have a septic tank?
  • If wastewater line infrastructure is constructed on your road, and you already have an existing septic tank, then you can tie into the line at any time. However, if you choose not to tie in, and your septic tank has a catastrophic failure and must be redone, then you are required to tie into the new wastewater line. However, when tying into the new line you will need to fill out the proper forms. For more information please call our Utility Systems Engineer at (505) 891-5046.

Wastewater:



1. What do I do if there is sewage backing up into my house?
  • Call the City immediately at (505) 896-8715. If the City is not open then please call a plumber immediately.

2. What do I do when raw sewage is running down the road?
  • Call the City immediately at (505) 896-8715.


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