U.S. Municipal Water & Wastewater Utility Rate Index, 2022

16 Jun 2022
14 pages
Complimentary analysis

The combined water and wastewater bill for a typical U.S. household has increased by 65.2% since 2012, according to Bluefield’s annual analysis of water and wastewater utility rates. The most significant rate increases are often in response to specific capital investment needs or for environmental protection and restoration programs.

Across the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., monthly household water bills average US$38.62, and monthly wastewater bills average US$54.53. This is based on average household consumption across the country.

In this Insight Report offers analysis of water and wastewater utility pricing in 50 U.S. metropolitan areas across 56 water and sewer utilities, highlighting key trends in municipal utility bills. 

Regions and cities evaluated:


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Table of Contents

  • Water & Wastewater Monthly Bills for U.S. Cities, 2012-2021
  • Regional Rate Comparison for Residential Water & Wastewater Bills
  • City Pricing Index for Water & Wastewater
  • Changes in Household Water & Wastewater Bills, 2021-2022
  • Utilities’ Price Structure Complexity and Bill Size
  • Implementing Residential Municipal Water & Wastewater Rate Increases
  • Water Rate Mechanisms by State
  • Water & Wastewater Utility by City, Average Water Consumption (m3 per month)

Research Scope

  • The utilities surveyed collectively provide potable water and wastewater collection and treatment services to approximately 20% of the U.S. population. 
  • Residential water and wastewater bills were calculated based on a 30-day billing period for standard 5/8” meters and reflect rates effective from 1 July 2021 to 1 June 2022 for various municipalities, respectively. 
  • Bills were calculated using a benchmark national average consumption level in addition to specific regional average consumption levels to allow for a range of comparative conclusions to be drawn.
  • Cities were grouped into four regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West) closely associated with those established by the U.S. Census Bureau in order to identify relevant regional variations in water and wastewater pricing. 

Key Assumptions

  • Unless otherwise specified by a surveyed utility, monthly residential wastewater usage is assumed to be 100% that of potable water. 
  • For cities that bill based on individual household Winter Average Consumption—or other seasonal averages—a uniform monthly consumption was assumed for all residents within the metropolitan area. 
  • When applicable, wastewater rates exclude charges for stormwater and/or impervious surface runoff. 

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