(April 10, 2018) - NACWA’s 2017 Cost of Clean Water Index indicates that the average cost of wastewater services rose 3.6 percent in 2017, eclipsing the $500 mark for the first time. According to NACWA’s annual survey, the national average amount that a single-family residence pays for wastewater collection and treatment is now $501 per year. This is the 16th consecutive year that charges for wastewater collection and treatment services have increased faster than inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index), doubling the average amount since 2003.
This rate of increase in the average charge reflects what we know anecdotally: the nation’s clean water utilities are working to address growing infrastructure challenges and better recover the full cost of providing sustainable clean water services. And this trend of increasing charges is only projected to continue.
NACWA’s Index indicates that clean water utilities are expecting average charges to continue to increase from 3.0 to 4.6 percent per year for the next five years. The average annual charge of $501 represents 2.03 percent of the 2017 federal poverty income threshold ($24,600) for a family of four – marking the first time this metric has exceeded two percent.
This proportion has risen from 1.3 percent in 2000 and projected increases in rates show the average charge reaching nearly $600 by 2021. The full Index survey report, which contains more detailed information including regional breakdowns of the national average, is now available for free download from NACWA’s website.