We were honored yet again recently to have had an article written by our founder and president, Jason Mumm, published in the Journal of the American Water Works Association (May 2012, Vol. 104, No. 5).
The article is a summary of data compiled by StepWise Utility Advisors over the past couple of years. Readers of this blog will recognize many of the data used in the article as well as the conclusions that Jason makes. Over the years, we’ve written several blog articles on the topic of affordability. CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL OF OUR AFFORDABILITY BLOGS.
Here is an excerpt from the AWWA Journal article – click the link above to get the entire article from the AWWA web site.
Even though water is cheap, the monthly bills for some 23 million US households, water and sewer services are already unaffordable by EPA’s guidelines. These 23 million homes occupy the bottom fifth of the household-income bell curve. The median income in this group of households is just $11,000, and the average water and sewer bill of $720 already makes up 6.5 percent of their income. EPA only measures affordability based on median incomes and not the bottom fifth, but the point should be clear that what seems affordable for the median might be quite unaffordable for those less fortunate. Water bills don’t scale based on income.
For the bottom fifth, water and sewer bills have ranged between barely affordable and downright unaffordable for the ten years between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, the average bill was already at about 4.5 percent of their household income. By 2003, the bills had reached the EPA cap of 5 percent, and have been relatively more and more expensive since.
The American Water Works Association is an international nonprofit educational association dedicated to safe water. Founded in 1881 as a forum for water professionals to share information and learn from each other for the common good, AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy for improving the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. The Journal is the premier national publication for the American Water Works Association read by 120,000 professionals in the drinking water industry every month.