‘We’re angry’: Central Texas woman deals with no running water after surprise $3,000 bill

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 7:29 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2022 at 12:11 PM CDT
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LOMETA, Texas (KWTX) - A Central Texas woman learned she owed nearly $3,000 to Corix, her water company, and since she cannot pay it off, she has been living without running water this week.

“When I called to pay my bill, I was told my bill was three-thousand-something dollars,” said Nita Dugger, “I told them that just couldn’t be and they agreed.”

Like many in the Lometa-Lampasas-area, Dugger gets water from Corix Utilities. Like many in the area, she also has a lot of complaints.

“(The water) is so brown you don’t even want to take a bath,” said Dugger.

She still pays her bills, usually in the $200-range monthly.

Dugger has been using more water in a pool, her plants and her animals lately. She said she was expecting July’s bill to be higher than normal, just not $3,000.

Even though it would have been a struggle, she was ready pay around $1,000 this month just to keep the water flowing.

“If that would’ve kept the water on, I was willing,” said Dugger.

Since the beginning of the month, she has been calling Corix to work out a way to pay off that bill.

She was in regular contact with Corix to come up with a solution, until this last week.

“I just wake up one morning and no water,” said Dugger.

According to Corix, it usually has company personnel do a meter investigation to figure out if a high bill is caused by a leak. However, Dugger said she never saw anyone come to the home to investigate.

On top of that, getting through to a single person with advice on what to do is also a struggle.

“How are we going to resolve this problem and who do I talk to?” asked Dugger.

Paying such a high bill – along with everything else – is a struggle.

But, it is rates that rural customers with Corix should expect, said President Darrin Barker.

“That becomes a very expensive system to operate,” said Barker.

He added, the company is serving about 1,200 customers through 300 miles of pipe. And, it is also working on a new water treatment facility, with a price tag of around $6 million.

“That results in a high capital investment per connection, if you will,” said Barker.

But that high investment is hard to pay for, not just for Dugger but for people like Dora and Charles Nichols.

“Our community is full of retirees and we’re all on a fixed income,” said Dora Nichols.

They, too, said they thought there was a water leak at their home but no one with Corix could find one.

Now, the couple’s water bill is around the $600-range monthly, about five times higher than what they are paying for electricity.

“We’re paying premium dollar for good water, which we’re not getting,” said Charles Nichols. “We’re getting scum. And that’s the best way I can explain it, it’s just scum.”

But at their home the water is still running, something Dugger hopes for in the near future.

Her patience is wearing thin.

“We’re getting angry,” said Dugger. “The heat and no water is really making us angry.”

Related Link: ‘Community is fed up’: Lometa residents still uneasy about state of water system

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