Water & Wastewater Rates

How Do Your Rates Compare?

Is your utility’s rate structure meeting your revenue goals and customer expectations? How does your rate structure compare with other utilities in your geographic region? How do your rates compare with similarly sized utilities? What are trends in utility rates? Find answers to these and other rate-related questions in AWWA's comprehensive biennial survey of water and wastewater utility rates.

customer looking at water bill

Water and wastewater rates books and databases

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 in the AWWA Store:




Water and Wastewater Rate Summary Figures

The following figures summarize water and wastewater rate changes, annualized rate increases, and typical water and wastewater bills based on data collected through surveys by AWWA and RFC. 

  • 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.
  • Annualized Rate Increases from 2004 - 2014 and Annualized Rate Increase from 2014-2018  Biennial adjustments for 2004 through 2018 from Chart 5 “Rate Trends in Survey Years” were used to derive the annualized rate increases and change in CPI from 2004 to 2018 shown here.
  • 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 of Practice

AWWA M1 Principles of Water Rates, Fees, and Charges

AWWA M1 provides all relevant information needed to evaluate and select water rate structures, fees, charges and pricing policies.

AWWA M54 Developing Rates for Small Systems

AWWA M54 gives step-by-step guidance to determine revenue requirements, analyze rates for different customer classes, develop a financial plan, and design a better rate structure.

Additional Resources

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.



Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina