$1,000 water bill stuns Normal Heights family

Posted at 5:27 AM, Jun 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-12 11:25:11-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Normal Heights family was shocked to see a $1,000 water bill come through their mailbox, but it turns out they may have plenty of company when it comes to exorbitantly high water bills.

Matt Thorn's backyard pool isn't very big, but he knew fixing it up last September would cost him temporarily.

"We reworked the interior, and then we had it filled, so that's why you can see we used a lot of water in that period," Thorn said.

What he still can't explain is the water bill he got for March. It increased five-fold to about $1,000.

"That's an incredible amount of water," Thorn said. "I have no clue what that amount of water looks like."

He got a water bill expensive enough to fill his pool 15 times. He hasn't refilled it, and he doesn't have grass to water because drought-resistant materials dominate Thorn's property. In fact, his front yard is almost entirely mulch.

Thorn also hired a plumber, who couldn't find a leak.

Thorn said the city recently installed new meters around his neighborhood, and an inspector recently came out to look at his.

"They checked it and left us this little tag apparently and said everything's fine," he said.

Thorn then took to social media, and he found neighbors that are also complaining about exorbitantly high water bills.

Making matters more mysterious, Thorn just got his June bill, and the charges are back to normal.

"I know these things happen, but it's a bit frustrating when they don't come out quickly and solve the problem," Thorn said.

The cause of the bill spike remains a mystery, but Thorn no longer has to pay for it.

After 10News brought Thorn's bill to the city's attention, a spokeswoman said the city would adjust his bill downward by $689.

The spokeswoman added that a benefit to the new smart meters is that they provide residents with better information and tools to manage their water use and address issues like leaks to help keep their bills low.

City of San Diego water customers can check their bill by visiting