FAQ: Water for Community Gardens Program

Diagram showing location of meter crock

From April 1st through November 1st, community garden leaders with an approved application for the Water for Gardens Program will receive a donation of $500 to keep your garden watered and healthy. Here is some helpful information outlining the responsibilities of a garden leader and those of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. If you have questions, please email water4gardens@pgh2o.com. A printable version of the Water For Community Gardens FAQ is also available for you to download.

How do I locate the water connection?

The water connection is located underground inside a meter crock (as illustrated in the diagram). They are typically located in the sidewalk and have a round lid about the size of a dinner plate. Inside you’ll find the water meter and hose bib. Attach your own garden hose to the hose bib to water your garden.

What am I responsible for maintaining?

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority provides the connection you’ll need to water your garden. This includes the service line that connects the curb box to the meter crock and the materials inside the crock. The above graphic illustrates details about service line ownership. In the crock you’ll find the water meter, hose bib, backflow device, and connection valve. You are responsible for keeping this equipment in good working order.

What is the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority responsible for maintaining?

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is responsible for maintaining the water meter through normal wear and tear.

Will I receive a monthly bill while enrolled in the Water for Gardens program?

Yes, all gardens will receive a paper bill and will be billed at the residential rate. Your bill will show the “Total Amount Due” as $0.00 unless your garden’s water usage exceeds the flat donation of $500.00. If that happens the garden leader is responsible for paying the outstanding balance each month.

Is paperless billing available?

Yes, if you would like to enroll in paperless billing, please visit our account and billing information page. 

What do I do if the water meter needs repair or is no longer working?

If the water meter is no longer working and needs to repair, contact us immediately by emailing
water4gardens@pgh2o.com. We will work with you to determine the appropriate course of action.

How many gallons is the $500.00 donation equal to?

A $500.00 flat donation is approximately 25,000 gallons of water. For the average community garden, this is an ample amount! If you are a larger garden, farm, or orchard and are worried that you might exceed the donation amount, please email water4gardens@pgh2o.com to request email alerts notifying you if you come within 5,000 gallons of the limit.

How can I properly maintain the water equipment?

Practicing good maintenance habits can help prevent the need for repairs. You can maintain the equipment by properly closing the meter crock after each use, storing gardening equipment in a separate location, removing the gardening hose from the hose bib after each use, and watching for water accumulation in or around the meter crock.

Am I responsible for replacing the water meter?

If we determine that the water meter is broken or damaged resulting from the negligence or willful act of the property owner or customer, the cost of removing, replacing, or repairing the meter is at the garden leader's expense.

What if I can’t find the water meter?

The water meter is typically underground located inside the meter crock. If you had water service in previous growing seasons, that means there is a meter on the property. If you are having trouble finding it, please contact water4gardens@pgh2o.com and we can inform you of the approximate location. Parked cars, mulch, leaves, debris, or gardening equipment may obstruct the cover to the meter crock. Please make sure the opening is unobstructed especially around your garden’s turn on date and at the end of the growing season.

What do I do if I notice water pooling around the meter crock?

Email water4gardens@pgh2o.com immediately if you notice water pooling around the meter crock. We’ll send one of our plumbers to inspect the area and determine if you have a leak. Depending on the source of the water, you may be responsible for prompt repairs. If you are experiencing a water emergency, please call our 24/7 Dispatch at 412-255-2423 and press 1.