Charting New Waters: A Call to Action to Address U.S. Freshwater Challenges

A picture named waterfromtap.jpg

Say hello to Charting New Waters: A Call to Action to Address U.S. Freshwater Challenges. Click here to sign up for your copy. From the report:

[Recommendation]: Convene a U.S. Freshwater Resources Commission

We believe the nation would greatly benefit from a diverse, multi-stakeholder commission to clarify and streamline the responsibilities and roles of agencies at different levels of freshwater governance. We recommend that an appropriate entity convene a high-level freshwater resources commission with a focused mission, an explicit timeline with a clear start and end point for the completion of its work, and clear guidelines for reporting its findings. The overarching goal of the commission should be to propose solutions that increase the integration and efficiency of the existing patchwork of jurisdictional authorities overseeing management of the nation’s freshwater resources. Potential convening models that would impart authority and credibility to this crosssector effort include a Presidential commission, a Congressional commission or a commission spearheaded by a private foun- dation or trust.


[Recommendation]: Water Utilities Decouple Revenues from Volume of Service

Water utilities servicing municipalities typically recoup fixed costs based on volume of water sold. The more water sold, the greater the net revenue. As a result, there is an institutional disincentive for utilities to promote water conserva- tion. Decoupling water utility costs so that fixed costs are fully recouped, but are not spread across a declining base of sales, would motivate utilities to proactively and aggressively promote water conservation and efficiency among their customers. Decoupling would allow utilities the flexibility to fully cover costs while also rewarding customers for conservation rather than raising rates to compensate for decreased revenues resulting from conservation. We recommend that water utilities work with municipalities, and their respective public service commissioners and customers, to adapt existing models for decoupling revenues to the water and wastewater sectors such that they can develop water pricing schemes that promote conservation. In the near term, while more sophisticated accounting and pricing mechanisms are under development, we recommend that water utilities consider existing models for incentivizing advantageous consumer behavior, such as seasonal block rates employed by cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Santa Fe and San Antonio, where the price of water increases for each unit used during dry months.

Thanks to Loretta Lohman for the link.

Leave a Reply