Today, the majority of Americans turn on their faucets, take showers or clean their dishes, without giving their water bill much thought.
Pretty soon, however, that might not be the case.
According to researchers at Michigan State University, water prices nationwide will need to increase by 41 percent over the next five years, to account for the increasing pressure of climate change and the costs of aging infrastructure. And that increase could leave up to a third of all US households unable to cover their water bills.
A historical perspective: After WWII, the US government spent a lot of money on building water distribution and collection infrastructure. In the 1970s, federal funding for water infrastructure was at 60 percent. Now? Just 9 percent. It’s no surprise that after 60 years, a lot of water pipes across America desperately need to be repaired or replaced.
Tracy Mehan, executive director of government affairs at American Water Works Association, has been advocating for more federal funding, but said in a recent Vox article that Americans can’t avoid higher water rates.
“We’ve coasted for decades in most places around the country,” Mehan says. “Our rates are half that of northern European cities. Rates are going up and need to go up.”
The team behind the Michigan State study says that annual water bills will increase by nearly $600 over the next five years. Currently, an average annual bill is $120 per month, but in the future that average could be as high as $169 per month.
What can be done to ease this impending burden?
Researchers say restructuring water rates is one possible solution. According to the Vox article, “restructuring water rates involves determining the number of gallons a customer can use each month for a pre-negotiated fee. If a customer uses more than the set amount, they pay a penalty or overage fee. Recent research shows that when utilities restructure rates, it can help offset the rising costs of water service.”
Improving infrastructure, restructuring water rates and increasing public awareness about the issue are just a few ways we can start dealing with the issue.
And although we don’t have all the answers, our 500+ clients have found that cloud-based SCADA is one option to help their water utilities be more efficient and cut down on cost. Ultimately, this technology will translate to direct cost savings for people in your community.
A path to savings:
- The initial set-up fee for a cloud-based SCADA system is a fraction of the cost of a traditional SCADA system.
- With cloud-based SCADA, the costs that come with replacing outdated hardware go away. With cloud-based SCADA, it’s easy to make changes and upgrades to the web-based software.
- With alert systems built-in, High Tide Technologies’ cloud-based SCADA notifies your team of any problems, such as power/equipment failures, overflows or leaks.
To learn more about the impact of cloud-based SCADA, see what we’ve done for rural municipalities.