Are you concerned with the rising cost of water? You are not alone. The cost of water is rising faster than any other utility service. Some areas are increasing their water connection fees with new homes. Most charges are fixed but there are those that variable, fluctuating every year. In Los Angeles, it was estimated that consumers paid 3.2 percent more last year after a water quality charge increased. Residents in Chicago saw a 24.9 percent increase.
- To pay off debt, funding expensive repairs or upgrades to old water systems.
- Electricity used to transport water and/or treat water has also increased.
- Clean water regulations as imposed by the federal government.
- Health care costs and high pensions for water agency workers.
- After 9/11, more security guards were put in place to protect our water.
In San Diego
Recently, the cost of water increased almost 10 percent in San Diego. This was because of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, increases in debt payments for local construction projects, and higher water costs from the Imperial Irrigation District. The raise is estimated at $43 million, covering these needed expenses. Needless to say, it will greatly affect residents and businesses throughout San Diego County.
The charges are necessary to boost local water reliability. Even after cutting 31 staff positions and putting local construction projects on hold, the city could not take the expense alone. Even though San Diegans are not happy about the raise, a cut in water costs is not likely anytime soon. The supply of water is short while the demand is high and continues to grow. One of the solutions the county is looking at is to buy water from the future desalination plant in Carlsbad.
In California, the concern of earthquakes creates a bigger problem. The result of a major earthquake would be catastrophic. Massive efforts in updating and repairs of existing infrastructures are not an option. The cost of water must increase in order to supply the state with this irreplaceable resource.
In the US
Overall, the US needs roughly $1 trillion to keep up with water demands. It is predicted that the nation will get a 5 percent to 15 percent increase every few years. Some cities have put into place more affordable water prices for low income homes to help single mothers and those with disabilities. However, it is difficult to make comparisons among cities since the population, geography, geology, infrastructure debt and other factors are different. One thing is certain, though, the rising cost of water is inevitable.
Although a growing concern for American consumers, Europeans pay much higher water rates. They also use less water than we do. In the end, Europeans pay roughly as much as Americans do.