Commercial Customers FAQs

FAQ List

How much water do data centers use?

Data center water consumption depends on factors such as facility size, cooling type (water intensive or air cooled), and outdoor temperature. Prince William County had 34 data centers in 2023. The average daily water use of a data center building is 13,600 gallons, while the maximum is 102,000. Seasonal weather affects data center water use. Facility water use is lower in winter and higher in summer. Operational data centers in Prince William County consume approximately 1.4% and 6% of Prince William Water's average and maximum daily water demands, respectively. 

Why are High Demand Charges in place year-round?

Commercial High Demand Charges apply year-round since commercial customers' excess use is not confined to residential peak season (May–October). 

Why does Prince William Water charge Commercial High Demand Charges?

Prince William Water's water system provides on-demand drinking water. As the County grows, Prince William Water builds its water system to serve more customers. New customers pay an Availability Fee at connection to cover system expansion costs.  
Commercial clients who use more water than their allocated capacity limit Prince William Water capacity for other customers. Prince William Water assesses Commercial High Demand Charges to recover the cost of adding water system capacity to lessen the impact of some commercial customers' high demands. 

What if my water needs are significantly greater than my sewer needs?

Customers paying for water and sewer services pay for similar capacity because all water can enter the sewer system. A water-only account is recommended for non-sewer water use. Water-only accounts are connected to the water supply but not the sewer. Purchase capacity individually for a water-only account. Engineers from Prince William Water will gladly discuss this possibility with clients. Customers should contact Prince William Water's Engineering & Planning Division at 703-335-7930 for assistance.   

What if I don’t know exactly how much water I plan to use?

Due to business-specific characteristics, Prince William Water must rely on commercial consumers to predict their water use. Prince William Water will evaluate the customer's usage estimate and the desired meter's suitability.  

Using historical data, Prince William Water can estimate a customer's water use, but it cannot predict their actual use. Due to company demand, ownership or tenant changes, etc., a customer's estimated water use may differ from their actual use. Prince William Water may request extra Availability Fees at any time when water demand exceeds capacity purchased, regardless of property ownership. Customers can buy more capacity and raise their thresholds by recertifying with our Engineering Division at 703-335-7930. 

As erroneous estimations may result in higher Availability Fees or High Demand Charges, Prince William Water advises consumers to estimate their use as accurately as possible. Owners and tenants should understand Developer and User Fees to manage water and sewer accounts cost effectively. 

I am a commercial customer. How much water may I use?

Commercial customers can use certified water capacity. Each user is assigned a number of Equivalent Residential Units (“ERU”), each of which provides 10,000 gallons of monthly consumption. High Demand Charges apply above that limit. Prince William Water may request extra Availability Fees at any time when water demand exceeds capacity purchased. 

Your monthly bill will list ERUs and high demand thresholds. For account questions, call our Utility Billing Supervisor at (703) 396-6495.