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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Looking into the crystal ball: 2014-15 Galveston Bay oyster season

December 17, 2014

Texas’ commercial oyster season began November 1, 2014 and runs until April 30, 2015. Last year’s harvest was marked by drought, an oil spill, and a toxic algal bloom. Historically, Galveston Bay oysters accounted for about 72% of Texas total harvest by weight; however, the last 3 seasons dropped to 42%. Given these challenges, will […]

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Estimated use of water in the United States in 2010

U.S. Geological Survey, December 8, 2014

Water use in the United States in 2010 was estimated to be about 355 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), which was 13 percent less than in 2005. The 2010 estimates put total withdrawals at the lowest level since before 1970.

California accounted for about 11 percent of the total withdrawals and 10 percent of freshwater withdrawals in the United States, predominantly for irrigation. Texas accounted for about 7 percent of total withdrawals, predominantly for thermoelectric power, irrigation, and public supply.

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How graywater could be a conservation method for the masses. (But isn’t.)

Texas Observer, November 19, 2014

Rodney Rash is the kind of guy who knows how to make something out of nothing. A former carpenter and electrician, Rash now works as a magician, constructing his own props and offering the plans for free online. He’s plugging away at a book on how to build a home for $35,000. But when he went to go construct a system to recycle water from his sinks, showers and washing machine at his home in Round Rock, Rash was stymied.

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