Across the 50 largest US metropolitan areas, water utility bills average US$38.06 monthly and wastewater bills average US$53.81, based on average household consumption within each respective state. Residential water and wastewater bills have steadily increased by 5.7% annually over the past five years, outpacing average annual income growth (5%) and inflation (1.9%) and magnifying the financial challenges facing municipal water utilities.
Emerging challenges posed by shifting consumer behavior and the need for additional revenue to fund infrastructure upgrades, are compounding with traditional issues like drought and extreme weather fluctuations, pushing utilities to increase water rates to stabilize revenue streams. More utilities are now featuring tiered pricing structures for water rates. Philadelphia just installed a new water pricing model based on income level.
Related: Listen to Bluefield President Reese Tisdale discuss Sacramento’s rising water and sewer rates:
In this Data Insight, Bluefield analyzes water and wastewater utility pricing in 50 metropolitan areas, across 59 water and sewer utilities in the U.S. to identify key trends. Includes Data Appendix of water and wastewater bills by city, including average household water consumption. See more recent analysis of US Municipal water markets.