Council Candidate Kenyatta Johnson Can Help Us Understand Our Water Bills

Some of you may have missed the Fox News report last night, which questions whether City Council candidate Kenyatta Johnson actually lives at 1818 Manton St., in the 2nd Council District. If you did, here’s a link:

Does Council Candidate Live In District?: MyFoxPHILLY.com

If you don’t feel like watching the whole video, Fox cameras caught Rep. Johnson leaving his fiancee’s home in West Philadelphia on numerous mornings in the past several weeks and in prior months, too. Fox was able to procure Johnson’s water bills from the past six months, indicating zero cubic feet of water usage in the past six months. Johnson insists that he lives in Point Breeze on Manton St., but spends time at his fiancee’s home as well.

Does Fox’s argument hold “water?” Let’s take a look.

The Philadelphia Water Department charges monthly fees for every property in the city, with a fixed monthly Service Charge and Storm Water Charge. For Johnson’s property and other similar addresses, those numbers amount to about $25/mo. Looking back to January of 2009, Johnson had twenty four out of thirty five months where he incurred no usage charge from the Water Department. In the other eleven months, we see 1 CCF of usage in nine of those months, and 2 CCF of usage in two of them.

So… what’s a CCF? CCF stands for one hundred cubic feet of water, or about 748 gallons. An average ten minute shower uses about 25-50 gallons of water. Flushing the toilet uses between 4 and 7 gallons each time. An average dishwasher cycle uses 15 gallons, washing dishes by hand uses about 5 gallons, and a washing machine load uses about 50 gallons. Looking at just showers and flushes, you’d be at 1 CCF after about ten showers and fifty flushes. Or zero showers and a hundred plus flushes. Or fifteen showers and no flushes. You get the idea.

Here’s what we don’t know for sure: Does the Philadelphia Water Department round up? Does 1 CCF truly mean the resident used about 750 gallons of water? Or does one flushed toilet result in a charge for 1 CCF? And if that’s the case, does that mean that nary a toilet was flushed nor a dish washed at 1818 Manton St. in 24 of the past 35 months?

Johnson currently serves in the PA House, representing the 186th district, which calls him to Harrisburg on a weekly basis. Here’s the PA House calendar. It is possible that his obligations in the state capital combined with a desire to spend quality time with his fiancee could depress his water usage so significantly over the past three years? Or does Mr. Johnson go above and beyond to save water, acting as a positive role model for those of us trying to save the planet? Or does he actually live someplace else?

Hey, anything is possible.