Rising Water Costs: What Are The Primary Drivers For This Significant Increase?

Joy Fryer

Cost was clearly sited as the biggest influencer of energy and sustainability initiatives for 2014 according to a recent survey conducted by Ecova. In this same survey, respondents indicated water as the second greatest area of opportunity for savings and improvement in the New Year. These results are not surprising, as you consider the steady rise in water and sewer prices, which have climbed by nearly 30 percent since 2008.

As water emerges as a top priority, many are asking what is driving these increased costs and what can be done to drive savings in this category. In today’s post, we share insights surrounding water cost drivers. Check back next week as we answer what can be done to drive water savings.


The primary drivers for this sharp spike in $Kgal (dollar per gallon or dollars per thousands of gallons) come from a variety of factors including:


Within the next decade, 36 states self-report expectations for local, regional or statewide water shortages. Influencing factors include, drought, increasing populations in water stressed regions, climate change, and energy product water demands.


The American Water Works Association recently estimated the nation’s pipes alone will cost $US 1 trillion over the next 25 years. Most of this will come from ratepayers, who pay as much as 99 percent of all money that is spent on water supply systems, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

It is clear how the above factors have a role in increased water costs. An issue that is further amplified by the lack  of federal regulatory support. Today there are no federal regulations in place that mandate changes to existing equipment, putting the burden back on local and state governments, which are facing their own challenges in allocating already slim budget dollars.

So what to do about rising water costs? Be sure to check back next week for part 2 of this blog series, as we share how Ecova clients like G6 Hospitality, Shari’s Restaurants and Burgerville have delivered measurable savings through effective water management.

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