Survey: U.S. Water Costs On The Rise

The annual water survey conducted by the NUS Consulting Group (http://www.nusconsulting.com) found the average price of water in the United States climbed by 3.5 percent for the period of July 1, 2004 to July 1, 2005.

The survey, which includes 51 water systems located throughout the country, revealed the highest price paid was in Huntington, W.Va., at $5.49 per one thousand gallons ("MGal") while residents in Greenville, Miss., enjoyed the lowest price for water at $0.80 per MGal. The average cost of water in the United States was $2.34 per MGal, NUS Consulting reported on Oct. 17. Including related sewer costs, the survey also found that the national average rose to $5.78 per MGal -- an increase of 5.3 percent from July 2004.

Some of the more notable increases in water prices were observed in San Francisco (+14.8 percent), Denver, Colo. (+13.7 percent), Hartford, Conn. (+12.7 percent), Greensboro, N.C. (+12.7 percent), and Newport, N.H. (+10.0 percent). Most of the increases were attributable to maintenance and construction costs, as these cities struggle to upgrade and maintain aging water and sewer infrastructures.

"While the increase in water prices may seem insignificant in comparison to the recent rise in other energy costs, it should be pointed out that increased water and related sewer costs occur, without fail, year after year," said Richard Soultanian, co-president of NUS Consulting Group. "Businesses need to pay careful attention to their water costs as this commodity has the potential for significant increases in the future. Aging water systems coupled with ever stricter Government regulations will have consumers paying more which in turn could have a negative impact on many business operations."

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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