Designing Water Rate Structures for Conservation and Revenue Stability

February 2014

Water pricing can be one of the most effective methods to driving conservation and it is also the primary mechanism for recovering the revenue that a water utility needs to protect public health and the environment.  The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina and the Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter have written a report to help Texas water utilities use their water rates and financial policies to encourage customers to reduce their water use while maintaining the financial viability of the utility.

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Webinar Information:  UNC and the Sierra Club hosted a webinar on March 19 that focused on the findings and recommendations of our new report that explores the relationship between water pricing, water use, and revenue stability in the State of Texas.  The webinar addresses how utilities can strike a balance between conservation and revenue stability and introduce rate structures, billing options, and financial practices that will help utilities advance water conservation objectives without undercutting needed revenue stability.


Desalination: Is it Worth its Salt?

November 2013

Desalination is often viewed as a solution to many water supply problems and is often hailed as a ‘drought resistant’ supply. This report explores the environmental, energy, and economic issues surrounding desalination and provides an overview of desalination activities in Texas.

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You Can’t Say They Don’t Care What You Think – Public Input on HB 4

March 28, 2014

Last November Texas voters overwhelming approved Proposition 6 – a proposed state constitutional amendment that created a new state water fund for water projects in the state water plan. Approval of “Prop 6” indirectly transferred $2 billion from the state’s “rainy day” fund into this new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) to provide […]

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Biggest water users consume 10 to 20 times more than average household

San Antonio Express News, March 24, 2014

SAN ANTONIO — Nestled in a large house on a 5.6-acre lot, Jimmy Walsdorf thought it was normal to pay hundreds of dollars each month for water.

Walsdorf’s bills climbed close to the $1,000 mark as his monthly use rose to nearly 120,000 gallons in 2012. Then he got a jolt of reality that made him a believer in conservation: a letter from the San Antonio Water System saying he’d made the utility’s list of the biggest 100 residential users.

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San Antonio Water System Backpedals on Right Choice – Still Considering Groundwater Importation Project

March 14, 2014

Last month, the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club praised staff at the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) for recommending to their Board that the focus of future water supplies for the city should rest on nearby brackish groundwater, rather than the importation of fresh groundwater from locations distant of the city.    Unfortunately, the […]

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A Pulse of Life at the Mouth of the Colorado

Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 10, 2014

A river bled dry by thirsty cities and farms in two countries will flow once again through northern Mexico later this month in an international experiment in habitat restoration.

Beginning March 23, the last dam on the Colorado River will open its gates to unleash a man-made flood that is scheduled to last eight weeks and send more than 100,000 acre-feet of water to the river’s delta, the biggest flood in decades.

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