Your drainage charge is based upon the amount and percent of impervious cover at your address. The Watershed Protection Department gets this information through a combination of aerial photography, LIDAR data and development records. We review and update our data on an ongoing basis as more information becomes available.

There have been very few errors reported to us since we initiated the new drainage charge system in November 2015. Corrections represent less than 1% of our accounts each year.

If, for any reason, you think there’s an error in your drainage charge, please call our Customer Care Center at Austin Energy at 512-494-9400 to let us know. This is the first step to initiate a review of your account. Here are some things you may want to be aware of, before you call:

  • You can check the impervious cover at your property using the "Find My Drainage Charge" tool.
  • The monthly charge per square foot of impervious cover is less than a penny, so small discrepancies in the amount of impervious cover may have little impact on your bill.
  • We may be able to lower your bill if you have an uncovered wood deck or an unpaved section on your driveway.
  • Frequently, there is no change to the drainage charge after a review.
  • Occasionally, the drainage charge increases after a review. This typically happens when we are reviewing impervious cover in one area of the property, but discover impervious cover in another area, sometimes covered by trees or newly built.
  • You may be asked to provide supporting documents, but often we can resolve your request through a phone call.
  • You may be asked to provide City staff access to your property to verify your information.

Administrative Review and Hearing

City Code section 15-2-12 and City Code Chapter 15-9 Article 12 are the relevant sections of the City Code for disputing your drainage charge. An administrative review by the Watershed Protection Department comes first. During this process, which is initiated by a customer call, City staff will review your records to verify the information that you provide. If you are not satisfied at the conclusion of this review, you may request an administrative hearing by an independent hearings officer.

Paying Your Bill

While your account is being reviewed, you remain responsible for paying the bills you have received. We will issue you a credit (or extra charge), if it turns out there has been an error.

Assistance Paying Your Charge

Residential customers may request a reduced drainage charge based on financial need through the Customer Assistance Program. This discount on the drainage charge is only available to those being billed directly by the City for drainage. It is not available to residents of multifamily dwellings for which the property owner or owner’s agent pays the drainage charge.