Written by Ashley Bleggi
As far back as 1926, Arizona has been a leader in the ever evolving world of water reuse. With the release of the 2019 Arizona Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard, we want to take a look at the recent insights our surveys have uncovered, as well as the current state of reclaimed water legislation in Arizona.
Overall, about 15% of all the utilities we surveyed for 2019 provide reclaimed water. As discussed in the EFC’s 2017 Arizona Water & Wastewater Rates Report , reclaimed water is significantly cheaper to produce and sell in part due to low energy requirements. Investing in reclaimed water processes allows utilities to avoid the costs of transporting wastewater long distances to surface discharge points, or investing in costly groundwater recharge infrastructure. This trend of reclaimed rates low comparative cost continues into 2019 with the data below showing reclaimed water bills to be nearly four times cheaper than both water and irrigation charges at the same 7.5 kgal consumption level. Continue reading
One hazard that water utilities with financial difficulties face is an increased risk of falling out of compliance of federal requirements and drinking water regulations. Violating regulations often triggers enforcement actions (and sometimes fines) by the state primacy agency, adding to the time and expense of running the water system. This can be extra troublesome if those utilities are already financially constrained. We analyzed national and regional data and found that unfortunately, there is statistical evidence that correlates small water systems’ financial difficulties and some types of violations.
by Jacob Mouw
This post was revised on September 25, 2014 to address nuances of water pricing and differences in conservation rates.
Drinking water, despite being a necessity, is relatively cheap in regards to its importance. At around $0.005 per gallon from the tap, it is astoundingly cheaper than, say, printer ink, which ranges from $13 to $75 per ounce, and yet is vastly more important. Despite this low price, water is a commodity, particularly in dry, drought-prone regions such as the southwestern United States. Utilities can deal with low water supplies by discouraging higher water use among customers through pricing. Having a “conservation rate” entails charging high enough prices for larger volumes of water use, therefore discouraging discretionary, non-essential use and promoting conservation. In the Environmental Finance Center’s recent Water and Wastewater Rates and Rate Structures Survey in the State of Arizona, thanks to funding from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona, we analyzed 355 water rate structures from 324 utilities. Continue reading