U.S. Municipal Water & Sewer: Annual Utility Rate Index, 2023

8 Nov 2023
Complimentary analysis

Correction Notice: A previous release of this analysis incorrectly captured the billing frequency of water rates for Portland, OR as monthly instead of quarterly billing for the 2022 and 2023 rate schedule inputs. Additionally, the New York, NY minimum daily charge was incorrectly classified as a base charge. Both errors caused the total estimated water bills to be higher than they are, impacting the last two years of data. Both errors have been corrected in this release.

Across 50 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, monthly household water bills averaged US$49.53 and monthly sewer bills averaged US$71.16 based on average household consumption.

Over the past 12 years, combined household water and sewer bills increased by an average of 4.1% each year. From 2022 to 2023, combined household water and sewer bills increased by 3.9%, down slightly from the 4.3% increase observed from 2021 to 2022.

Bluefield Research has for the eighth consecutive year engaged in a comprehensive analysis of water and sewer rates for 50 of the largest U.S. cities. This analysis considers the associated impacts on residential water and sewer bills, as ratepayers represent the primary funding source for municipal operating expenditures.

Across the approximately 50,000 water and 21,000 wastewater systems in the U.S., the need for investment in water and wastewater utility infrastructure is widely recognized. In 2022, Bluefield forecasted US$595 billion in capital expenditures and US$1.1 trillion in operating expenditures for municipal utilities through 2030. These numbers continue to trend upward due to aging systems, urban population growth, and efforts to expand existing water infrastructure

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