...this is where the unmetered resident in an apartment building gets a "pooled" billing in addition to their rent and other utility bills (electricity, phone). This is where they take the number of units (or sometimes the number of residents living in the unit), divide the bill by that number and then bill their residents. In the past landlords included water in the rent because if it isn't paid by them, their property can get a lien put on it. Now they can charge high rent AND claim the water bill is also part of the deal. The reason they do this is that they are leeching even more off the residents.
Some problems with this arrangement is that residents have no control over usage, even if their curb their own like they could improve the cost if it were individually metered (which the landlord is too cheap to do). The management or landlord can use the water for their gardens, leave it on all day, use it whatever way they want and add to this cost and assume their residents will pay for it, so who cares?
The most insidious about this "third party" billing is that the same companies that are the billers are also the same companies involved with the takeover of water in developing countries. Where in places like Argentina, they even claimed caught rainwater was "owned" by them and therefore anyone doing this was "stealing".
3rd party billing is creeping into communities all over the nation. FIGHT IT!
Cat in Seattle