United States survey shows private water cost increased 4.5 percent

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The NUS Consulting Group, a Park Ridge energy and telecommunications consulting firm revealed the results of their annual water cost survey.

The NUS survey found that in the last 12 months, the cost of water in the companies surveyed across the United States increased by 4.5 percent. It is generally running a little bit higher than the rate of inflation. It is in line with the increases we have seen in recent years, which have run between 4 percent and 6 percent.

Why are the costs rising?

The biggest factor is infrastructure costs, primarily the repair and upkeep of their water systems. We saw some systems with increases over 30 percent. Denver, for instance, had a 35.2 percent increase, largely due to infrastructure expenses and increases to promote the conservation of water.

Will these trends continue?

Overall, water bills will continue to rise. Between the need for conservation, stricter water quality standards and an aging infrastructure, costs will continue to go up.

Some systems are more than 100 years old. Those systems will have to be upgraded and that will be reflected in higher water bills.

There has been a lot of consolidation, with acquisitions of water companies by foreign conglomerates because a lot of municipalities are coming to the realization that it is too expensive to run their water systems. They are throwing up their hands and turning the systems over to professionals.