U.S. Water News Online
PARK RIDGE, N.J. -- The summer's drought, followed by
floods are expected to push the price of water higher for many
"We forecast the drought and then the floods to push water prices
higher in many states as suppliers seek new sources of water and try
to improve their infrastructure to meet these periods of high
demand," said Richard Soultanian, Co-President of independent utility
cost management company National Utility Service, Inc. (NUS).
The recently released NUS 1999 Water Price Survey found
people in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Vermont pay
more than three times the price for their water than consumers in
Arkansas, Michigan, and Tennessee.
The independent survey was undertaken as part of National Utility
Service, Inc's. work to help organizations obtain better electricity,
gas, telecommunication, fuel and water prices, and contracts. The
survey compares the price of water in each state capitol, or major
center, and Washington, DC.
"Our survey found prices have already risen in many states over
the past year, and in one case prices increased 25 percent. We expect
this modestly increasing trend to continue."
"As a general rule, price increases follow infrastructure
improvements made by municipalities. The obligation to meet tougher
environmental standards has also had a significant impact on prices."
"This summer's drought adds to this, as water utilities will be
doing a lot more long-term planning and development to better secure
supply and delivery in difficult times. This type of long-term
preparation also affects prices."
As expected, the NUS 1999 Water Price Survey found big
differences in pricing between regions in the U.S. Unexpectedly, the
survey also found significant variation in prices in neighboring
cities. Soultanian said "water costs vary considerably around the
U.S. and are due to a range of factors, including environmental
concerns and the age and upkeep of water supply infrastructure. Also,
while the Western United States is awash with water, there are no
pipelines to move this commodity around the country, as is the case
with gas and electricity."
He suggests finding the best water prices does not even mean
moving to a city with lower water prices. "If you are a commercial
user, prices can vary within the area of a supplier. Some water
utilities have a range of rates, and it is up to larger consumers to
find the best rate for them."
"Most businesses do not recognize that they have options and
alternatives in purchasing their utilities. If consumers think that
the utility companies will help them -- they should think again. The
utility companies have a very clear policy when it comes to finding
the lowest price -- 'it is the customers' responsibility.' That is
where NUS comes in. We ensure our clients are getting the best deal
from their utilities."
Prices indicated are for an average monthly cost of 220,000
gallons (294,300 cubic feet/883 cubic meters) of water on a two inch
meter for commercial use. This is enough water for an apartment block
of around 15 units or a smaller office block. Prices are for major
cities, but where they were not made available another major city was
selected or the state capitol. Prices can vary considerably within a
state and within areas, due to a range of factors as mentioned above.
A range of prices for 220,00, gallons for the cities researched in
the report are as follows:
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