U.S. municipal water and wastewater utility bills increased 3.6% over the last year, according to a new U.S. Municipal Water and Wastewater Utility Bill Index from Bluefield Research, a Boston-based global data firm that specializes in water and wastewater markets. Adjusting for inflation, this increase brings the combined average U.S. monthly water and wastewater bill to a US$104 average per household.
Bluefield’s annual analysis of utility water and wastewater rates demonstrates the extreme differences across the U.S., including rate structures and service fees. Of the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas analyzed by Bluefield, 35 demonstrated increased rates from 2018 to 2019, while another 15 decreased or kept their rates constant during the same period.
“While water rates are rising overall, the year-to-year rate volatility and varied approaches by utilities is striking,” says Erin Bonney Casey, Research Director at Bluefield. “Given the escalating annual capital and operating expenditures currently exceeding US$110 billion nationwide, and the fact that rates represent a critical source of water infrastructure funding, one would expect to see more consistency, nationally and locally, over time.”