in poverty (DeNavas-Walt and Proctor 2015). This, coupled with
increasing funding needs for regulatory compliance, infrastructure
investment, and system resilience can create a perfect storm for
unaffordable water and wastewater services. There are a variety of
financing options to pay for these obligations, but ultimately the
funding will need to come from local rates and charges.
However, the fact that this quote was taken from a report that is
nearly 20 years old highlights the chronic nature of this challenge
rather than a new fad that will be solved with a simple solution.
Water affordability issues are well known and legitimate. The
portion of low-income households in the United States is significant. In 2014, approximately 15% of the U.S. population lived
Balancing Rates with
Jonathan Cuppett, Water Research Foundation; Janet Clements, Abt
Associates (formerly Stratus Consulting); Stacey Isaac Berahzer,
Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina
“Water rates have been increasing at rates far exceeding inflation over the past decade” (Saunders et al. 1998). This commonly cited quote should not come as a surprise to any water industry profes- sional, as it is one of several current water industry hot button issues.