A new study released shows that not only does Wichita Falls pay the most for water in the state, its by a wide margin.

LawnStarter compiled the water usage numbers and costs of the top 40 water community systems in Texas, calculating against an average usage of 5,000 gallons a month.  A Wichita Falls resident would end up paying an average of $516.43 per year for water, just less than double the state average of $288.43.  Wichita Falls was also well above the national average of $337.60 per year.  Jim Dockery, Deputy City Manager for the city of Wichita Falls, said that these results are not surprising after the problems the area suffered with the drought and the cost of water improvement projects,

We've had to raise water rates fairly significantly a couple of years ago to react to the dry and the drought.

The main cause of our water rates being higher is because our consumers are using much less on average than other cities.

People are using less water and what that means is that as you have lower demand for water yet you have relatively fixed costs you have to charge more.

Dockery also noted a flaw that the study is limited on some reasons for increased water rates, specifically amount of usage and supply and demand,

I looked up some of them, for instance, Carrollton, Denton, Midland, all three of those systems those consumers average 9,000 gallons a month, where in Wichita Falls its more like 4,000 gallons a month.

Several Wichita Falls residents have expressed frustration with the heightened water pricing, saying they fear their water bill as much as their electricity bill.  Some residents have complained of bills being sent late or not at all, resulting in an interruption of service without notice and the addition of a $50 fine to have water service restored.  Resident Eric Norris decried the city's gouging of prices on a human necessity,

We got our water shut off with no notice.  We woke up one morning to do the dishes and there was no water.

Water is a basic necessity of life and they’re holding us hostage by the faucet.

While Dockery said he isn't aware of any problem with bills being sent late, he does urge residents to call if they don't receive their bill on time.

KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

via KAUZ