Alto woman accused of using 30,000 gallons of water in one month

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - A single Alto mom is taking on the city of Alto's water department for accusing her of using 30,000 gallons of water in one month.

"I'm not the bad guy in this. I'm not the one who did it. I'm just trying to find out what's going on. Why do I have a water bill so high? Every month I would tell them," says Amber Bates.

Bates is fed up after watching her water bill go up and up over the past 13 months.

"It was about 300 and something dollars and it went up from there to $500," says Bates.

Only her and her young daughter live in her home.

"Thirty-thousand gallons one month they told me I was using. I told them there was no way possible I could use 30,000 gallons. That's the usage of the whole town probably," says Bates.

The water department told her she must have a leak, but two separate plumbers couldn't find one.

"We looked to see what was going on and we went over to the houses behind us to the little faucets outside and we turned on their water until it ran my meter," says Bates.

So Bates investigated and found out that a duplex and trailer were hooked up to her water meter.

She had been paying four households water bills.

When KTRE contacted the city to set up an interview with the utilities supervisor, we were told he wouldn't be giving us a comment. So we couldn't ask him about Amber's $500 water bill.

"I'm going into debt paying them. I have to keep my water on so I'm late on everything else," says Bates.

The mayor of Alto came by her home Tuesday to check things out, and came up with a plan.

"Digging my yard up and cutting the line from the water meter and taking one line to my house," says Bates.

Still, the city hasn't offered to reimburse here for the thousands of dollars she's paid them.

"As a woman without anyone to help me, I just let it go, but when it got up to 300, 400, and 500. This is ridiculous. What's going on?" says Bates.

Instead of being treated with respect, Bates says the city water department claimed she was trying to steal.

"It made me feel awful. Accusing me of stealing 30,000 gallons of water? There's no way I could steal 30,000 gallons of water," says Bates.

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