Growing up in Southern California with small and infrequent rain storms I have come to appreciate rain and the value of life giving water. I found myself cheering the downpours we had yesterday – terrible for traffic but excellent for plant life and water tables.
In my local work with water management and use, the topic of the cost of water and therefore the value of water comes up time and time again. Is water undervalued? In the So Cal area the average consumer pays 1 – 2 cents per gallon for tap water. It doesn’t sound like much until you realize the average use of water in 2013 (this area of the US) was around 500 gallons per person per day. Southern Californians have done a great job cutting back on water use this year, and there is a great deal of buzz about raising water prices because the cutbacks have resulted in a drop in overall revenue for the districts. A dilemma to be sure.
The majority of water use is for outdoor landscaping – 50-60% in urban areas. We certainly have folks who would rather use the water and pay the bill than let their landscaping go. We also have a lot of folks who use no where near 500 gallons per day – so how do we balance it out? How do we put an appropriate value on water so that it gets the respect it deserves without breaking the bank for income challenged families and businesses? What about agriculture?
The attached Green Biz article gives some interesting facts and insights on water around the world.
What do you think?
Update 11/17/15 – As predicted, the rate increase being sought is about 17%. According to CBS8 news, the average impact for a residential customer would be about $6/month.
What is your average water bill, and what would a 17% increase mean to your home or business? Looking at the overall dollar impact to you, do you think water is under valued or properly valued?