AWWA Articles

AWWA’s 2019 Water and Wastewater Rate Survey reveals increasing utility costs boosting rates

(DENVER) – The American Water Works Association’s most recent Water and Wastewater Rate Survey is now available. The survey reveals that average increases in drinking water and wastewater charges continue to outpace the rise in the U.S. Consumer Price Index.

Between the 2016 and 2018 surveys, charges increased 7.2 percent for water and 7.5 percent for wastewater. During the same span, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 4.6 percent. Between 1996 and 2018, charges increased 5.09 percent annually for water and 5.64 percent annually for wastewater. This compares to an annual 2.1 percent increase in the CPI over the same period.

“Water rates need to be fair and equitable, and they must also generate the necessary revenue to confront today’s water challenges, including maintaining, replacing and expanding water infrastructure,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “At the same time, we must always be mindful of households that struggle to meet basic expenses and may need assistance.” 

AWWA’s 2012 Buried No Longer report found that the cost of repairing and expanding U.S. drinking water infrastructure would top $1 trillion over 25 years.

The rates survey revealed that midsized utilities have the lowest water rates and smaller water utilities have the lowest wastewater rates. Within the United States, median water charges are the highest in the West while median wastewater charges are the highest in the Northeast. The Midwest has the lowest water and wastewater charges.

The survey collected data from over 230 water and over 100 wastewater utilities from the U.S. and Canada in 2018. Most utilities were municipal and varied in size from 1,000 to 5 million customers served.

The survey provides comprehensive and current water and wastewater utility rates and financial data and analyses. It is divided into several parts, concentrating on the survey’s methodology, key findings and observations and data summary exhibits. AWWA and Raftelis Financial Consultants have produced a biennial survey of water and wastewater charges for North American utilities since 2002.

The Water and Wastewater Rate Survey can be purchased in the AWWA Store.

About the product:
2019 Water and Wastewater Rate Survey
Published by American Water Works Association
ISBN: 9781625763365
Softcover, 78 pp.
Price: $260 AWWA members, $370 non-members
Product #: 54009-19

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Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 51,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.

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