7/21/10

In the news: U.S. Urban Residents Cut Water Usage; Utilities are Forced to Raise Prices

From Circle of Blue:
Last week the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, one of the nation’s largest municipal water suppliers, announced that along with requiring its customers to use less water under mandatory conservation measures it also would hike up the price for water by 15 percent over the next two years.

The board of the Los Angeles-based water district, which supplies drinking water to nearly 19 million people in parts of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, anticipates a public push back.

Indeed as water sales have declined because of the recession and conservation, water utility boards all across the country have raised rates, prompting civic dismay. A growing number of raucous council meetings, street protests and petition drives in opposition to higher water prices have occurred in cities large and small–Detroit; San Diego; Joplin, Mo.; Prairie Township, Ohio.

In effect, in too many American cities to count, water consumers are dramatically reducing the amount they use only to be hit with higher water rates. Existing designs for deciding water rates are the culprits. A handful of cities are restructuring their billing systems to benefit conservation-minded consumers who deserve to be rewarded rather than penalized. Read more.

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