Drought across the Midwest is continuing to raise concerns over water scarcity and having the supply to meet future demand.
In spite of this, some groups believe that finding the right price point for water customers will be the key.
At a conference for water utility finance managers held in Park City, Utah on Friday, officials from Utah, Colorado, and elsewhere in the West discussed how to raise prices without angering customers in order to finance water conservation projects that will offset the drought.
Deseret News reports:
“Leurig said block pricing — bumping water rates upon a graduated scale based on consumption — and scaling impact fees to a home’s “conservation” profile, are examples of how systems can build in sustainability to help them survive longer, on less water and help to delay costly projects.
“In the 21st century, for us to really manage water, we need to understand the economics of water. We have to understand the tools, the pricing, the viability of cost sharing and diversifying our supply,” she said. “Those things are the foundation of what will create a financially resilient system in the 21st century, not just engineering.”
The conference admitted that it will be hard to sell this line of thought to the consumers, but they are willing to try. This kind of resiliency planning is essential for water utilities and it is encouraging to see these leaders engaging with the problems now rather than leaving them until crisis point.
Service cost and market pricing signals are part of the toolset available to infrastructure managers as they consider future demand management solutions.
PHOTO CREDIT: Photo Dean via Flickr Creative Commons.