Frequently Asked Rate Questions

1) Why is my summer bill so high?

Most customers see a significant increase in their bill during the summer months as a result of lawn watering.  We recommend customers only water their lawns every other day; or even every third day.


2) Why did you raise rates?

Long Island’s aquifer, the sole source of all our drinking water, is our most precious resource, and to help protect it, we’ve created a more equitable way of charging for water.  Our conservation water rate, applied to all usage above 120 CCF in a given quarter (more than twice the average customer’s consumption) was increased to $2.516 per CCF.  Our standard water rate, applied to all usage up to 120 CCF was not increased.

Also, our standard water consumption rate is now $1.742 per CCF and our quarterly basic service charge is now $32.07. Please contact our Customer Service team with any questions at (631) 698-9500.


3) Why does SCWA need more money? Do I get any benefit from an increased rate?

As a not-for-profit public utility, the Water Authority is required to raise water rates periodically in order to meet ever increasing costs of providing water. A portion of SCWA’s annual budget goes to fund our robust capital improvement program, which funds water service improvements system wide.


4) I thought there was plenty of water in the Aquifer. Why should I conserve?

Unlike severe drought states like California, Long Island is not in danger of running out of water. However, over-pumping our aquifer can have negative water quality impacts such as saltwater intrusion. Excessive usage during peak times in the early morning hours can also negatively affect water pressure.  Additionally, excessive water usage can impact fire suppression efforts due to low water pressure.


5) If I water less, won’t my lawn go brown?

Not if your lawn is being watered sufficiently.  Grass needs to be stressed in order to encourage deep root growth. Every other day, or even every third day watering should still keep the lawn looking green.

Lawns need about 1.5 inches of water weekly.


6) What is a smart irrigation controller? Where can I buy one? How much do they cost?

Smart irrigation controllers replace the existing timer for your sprinkler system. They connect to the WiFi in your home to get the latest hyper-local weather information so the system knows just how much water your lawn needs.  Long Islanders waste millions of gallons of water every summer just by watering lawns in the rain.  A smart controller can also be controlled via smart phone app. SCWA does not recommend or endorse any particular brand of smart irrigation controller.  They are typically available at hardware stores or can be purchased online, ranging anywhere from about $200 to $500. SCWA does offer account credits of up to $50 for customers who submit proof of purchase for these water-saving devices. 


7) What is a Water Wise Checkup?

A SCWA Water Wise Checkup is a one-on-one consultation between you, the homeowner, and one of our water use experts. Our expert will ask a series of questions about your home to estimate your daily total water use.

Water Wise Checkups identify each point of water use within and around your home and estimate the quantity of water used at each of these points. The goal is to identify and quantify unaccountable water losses, ultimately providing you with a road map for potential savings.

Our water expert will show you exactly how much water you used last quarter and can compare that to your past usage numbers as well as usage for the average customer in the area.


8) What is a CCF?

CCF stands for Centum Cubic Foot (or hundred cubic feet). It is the unit used by SCWA water meters to measure usage. One CCF is equal to 748 gallons.


9) Will you alert me if I am approaching the tier 2 threshold?

SCWA does not alert individual customers when they are approaching 105 CCF in usage. It is up to customers to be judicious when it comes to their usage.  Customers interested in their current or past water consumption can examine their previous bills, or contact an SCWA Customer Care Representative at (631) 698-9500 or at


10)  Am I on track to exceed the threshold? Have I exceeded it in the past?

An SCWA customer care representative can look at your current and past usage and let you know whether you have exceeded this threshold in years prior. Call (631) 698-9500 or log onto to request a Water Wise Checkup.


11) What can I do to make sure I don’t enter the second tier?

The most important thing you can do to avoid having to pay second tier pricing is to lower your usage. Conservation tips include:  detecting and fixing all leaks, limiting indoor and outdoor water usage, and curtailing sprinkler usage.  Water usage associated with lawn watering has the greatest impact. SCWA recommends customers only water their lawns every other day; or even every third day.  Consider installing a smart irrigation controller that factors local weather conditions to water more efficiently. SCWA offers account credits of up to $50 for customers who submit proof of purchase for these water-saving devices. - Water Wise Account Credit Application Form

Helpful tips:

  1. Use a smart irrigation controller or rain sensor when watering your lawn. This technology helps you make sure your lawn only gets watered when it needs it, eliminating wasteful overwatering and saving you money.


  1. Water less often. Lawns only need an inch and a half of water per week, so if it rains, there may be no need to water at all. If it doesn’t rain try an odd/even day watering system or other method to avoid watering every day, which is bad for your lawn.


  1. Use EPA WaterSense products. You can save thousands of gallons per year by using WaterSense label products such as toilets, showerheads and faucets.


  1. Shorten your showers. Showers can use up to 6.5 gallons per minute, so every minute you cut from a shower adds up.


  1. Fix a Leak. Even a drip at a time, leaks can add up to gallons of lost water every day. So look for leaks and if you find one, be sure to get it fixed.


  1. Brush your teeth with the water off. Once you’ve started brushing, turn off the tap till you’re done. You lose more than a gallon a minute leaving the tap on.


  1. Only run your washers when full. Running a half-empty dishwasher or washing machine wasted many gallons of water.


  1. Keep your plants moist with mulch. You’ll need to water your plants far less often if you lay quality mulch around them. Mulch also provides nutrients, reduces run-off and fights weeds.


  1. Don’t hose off the driveway. Use a broom, rake or shovel instead and save a lot of water.


  1. Go to a car wash. Today’s car washes usually recycle water and are as efficient as possible, so take your car to the car wash instead of washing it at home.