Utilities Water Rates are Climbing!!!!

Happy Water Day!!!! A little insight into the water that everyone uses but no one understands its true value until now. Over the past year, I have been watching water rates rise due to the increase in demand impacted by the degradation of infrastructure and dwindling the supply. Currently, water utilities are suffering because not only is there good undervalued but their infrastructure cannot accurately measure the amount supplied or accurately transport the good without a loss. Therefore most water rate increases are directly associated with improving the dilapidated infrastructure.
Increase in Flat-Rates fees: Just to list a few
  • Las Vegas Valley Water District decides to add a surcharge to help cover debt payments over the nest three years. Part one will be a flat-rate increase that will mostly impact businesses.
  •  Tiffin, Oh. The Ohio American Water Company increase water rates by 22% to cover the cost of aging infrastructure. This was the first of utility to present the health and safety issues associated with the current infrastructure, but that did not calm residents. The public utility commission of Ohio held a public forum  to discuss the water rate increase.
  • Uxbridge, Ma. Introduced a new method to recover billing debt similar to Irvine Ranch utility in that “high-usage water consumers (800 cubic feet +) to see the slight rate increase.” The slight increase in rates was based purely on water consumption, last year the utility experienced a 5.4% decrease in last year’s billing cycle. If that were to occur in 2012, the water enterprise operating fund would lose $46,897. Even with the slight increase the fund has a chance of losing $21,569 (impacted by weather and infrastructure factors). Changes rate structure to generate larger revenue from larger users
  • Virgina looking to increase water rates by 15.9% in that will impact Prince Williams, Alexandria, Hopewell, and eastern district. However being regulated by the State Corporation Commission requires the company to file for the increase with the SCC regulatory agency. The SCC is also required to give the public notice of the rate increase and the opportunity to comment. Therefore, this is not a sure bet yet.
  • Elmwood Park, Il. Can expect a water increase for the next four years, starting with a 25% increase this year and 15% increase each of the following three years. The increase in rates is to pay off $425 million in repairs and replacement costs for 125 miles of water main, and another $260 million on upgrading four pumping stations.
  • Missouri American Water was granted rate increase, boosting rates 10% starting on April 1, 2012. The rates are increasing to assist with infrastructure cost.
Water Ban: 
  • Uxbridge, Ma. was also banned outdoor water use last summer to ensure sufficient water during hot and dry weather conditions.
  • Southwest Florida Water Management District has implemented strict water restrictions on outdoor water user including lawn irrigation, pressure washing, car washing, decorative fountains, and more. Unlike other outdoor water use restrictions, this restriction is implemented year round.
  • New Jersey American Water follows suit with banning outdoor water use last summer as the utility water resources began to dwindle in Essex and Union Counties, therefore, the entire community had to reevaluate usage. The severity of the conservation was the tremendous urging citizens to not only stop water outdoors but to conserve indoors as well.
  • Cobb County, Ga. Governor Perdue signed the Water Stewardship Act into law. The law has new provisions for landscape watering. You may water landscapes and day between the hours of 4pm – 10am. However, there is already an odd/even schedule currently in place for other outdoor uses such as car washing, fountains, etc.

Virtual Water Conference: 60 Active Water Professionals in 60 minutes!!

Dow’s Future of Water: Is a new age educational tool to grasp the attention of not only active water professionals but upcoming students as well. However, this conference was hosted by Dow Chemical Representative to learn about the role the chemistry plays in the global water crisis? The facts listed below were some that were presented in the presentations.
  1.  According to Standard and Poor’s Credit Suisse Water Index, in 1950: fresh water reserves were 17000m3  per capita. In 1995: 7300m. In the period that the world population has doubled, demand for fresh water has quadrupled. 
  2. By 2025, the UN forecasts that demand for fresh water will grow by 29% and supply will grow by 22%.
  3. Water has been announced as being a global problem. However, most of the water problems have regional and local solutions. Because “Water in main is not the same as water in Spain.”
  4. There was a HUGE focus on water Stewardship and water education. The understanding of where your water comes from (water address). Starting to inform youth about everything that we were unaware of growing up begins to develop a platform of understanding that leads to action. 
  5. Water management seems to be extremely segregated into different management techniques and the level of efficiency in each subcategory: Wastewater, freshwater, storm water and rainwater. The fading of the difference in management will overall improve the water management efficiency. 
  6. “Half the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people with preventable water-related diseases.”
  7. Per day over 600 water mains break in the United States on average. 
  8. Current water infrastructure in the western region of the United States is roughly 80 years old (if not longer) and on average 20% of the water transported within this infrastructure is lost (through leaks, breaks, and seepage). The cost of replacing current infrastructure is estimated to be $335 Billion over the course of the next 20 years. While water is currently being priced at 1/3 of a penny, water prices are expected to tremendously increase. 
  9. Mention of Biochar was a new subject mostly for  sustainable agriculture and to allow for increase soil absorption to improve soil fertility.