Rates & Finance

Design and Application of Water Rates, Fees, and Charges

Implementation of sound principles regarding the design and application of water rates and charges for water service is a critical part of the water industry. 

Additionally, uniformity in water utility accounting policies and procedures is required for best business practices.


Water Reuse cost allocations and pricing survey 

As reuse water is a relatively new source of supply, the water industry has not yet standardized on a single pricing approach.  Furthermore, the measurement and allocation of costs of reuse water production is naturally complex, reflecting elements of both water and wastewater functions and requiring decisions regarding the correct treatment of shared costs.  Through a survey and structured interviews, this report examines patterns in the cost allocation and pricing for reuse water service in the United States. 

Access the report 

Water and wastewater rates survey


AWWA and Raftelis Financial Consultants have been producing a biennial survey of water and wastewater charges for US utilities since 2002. 

Learn more about and purchase the most recent product.


AWWA Cash Reserve Policy Guidelines

  • Utilities in the water industry must meet their operational, maintenance, and capital needs mainly though revenue from services that are delivered with expensive, complex, and regulated infrastructure. Utility systems have no margin for failure as there is an expectation they will provide uninterrupted service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As such, the cash reserves maintained by a utility are a critical component of its financial sustainability. This report identifies various types of financial reserves, including policy guidelines and examples, and is intended to assist utilities in establishing appropriate formal or informal reserve policies based upon the unique considerations and circumstances of their respective system.

Rate Trends in Survey Years

  • Each biennial water and wastewater rate change shown indicates the average change of the 10 Ccf, 5/8” meter residential customer monthly bill only for respondents who participated in the survey year and the direct previous survey. For example, if the survey year is 2008, only data for utilities that participated in both the 2006 and 2008 survey were collected and used to derive the average biennial change in residential monthly bill for 2008. 

Typical Water and Wastewater Bills

  • This figure shows the average monthly residential water and wastewater bills from all responding utilities in each survey year. These bills are associated with a usage rate of 7,480 gallons/month. General increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are also presented; starting with the average of the water and wastewater bills in 1988, this level increases based on CPI changes provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

AWWA Manuals

You may also search decades of articles on this or other topics published in the Journal AWWA, Opflow and AWWA Water Science

AWWA Policy Statements

AWWA's policy statements are brief statements on protecting and improving water supply, water quality, management, and the interests of the public and the environment. They are written by consensus, subject to review and comment by AWWA committees, councils, and members. Because they represent AWWA's position on these matters, they are approved by the AWWA Executive Committee of the board of directors.

Technical Committee Engagement

AWWA members are recognized globally for their industry expertise and their generosity in sharing that expertise for a better world through better water. AWWA members participate in committee activities, developing conference programs, writing technical manuals, developing standards, creating educational content and contributing to AWWA publications.  Committee members primarily interact through conference calls, emails, and face to face meetings at conferences and events.  Access more information on volunteering for an AWWA committee.

The following committees are active in addressing rates and finance: