It seems like everything around us is more expensive than it was when we were kids. Everyone knows someone who remembers when gas was under a dollar per gallon, a coke was a nickel and college was less expensive than a mortgage on a decent house. All of the goods and services we need and want fluctuate over time. As time goes by, commodities previously taken for granted become scarce and thus more expensive. 

The water and sewer infrastructure in America

Water has historically been an inexpensive commodity in America, but water costs are steadily increasing. Here are some facts about our American water and sewer infrastructure*:

“It takes somewhere between 75 and 120 years for the walls of a metal or concrete pipe to wear down to the point where the overlying weight of the soil or a spike in pressure will cause it to break or develop a leak.” How old is your city? While cities have undoubtedly made some repairs and performed updates, water and sewer pipes are buried and maintenance is expensive. When this delivery system we’ve become so reliant upon continues to experience increasing maintenance costs, this expense will inevitably roll all the way down to consumers.

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors estimates that cities take in only about 80-90% of the funds needed to repair their water and sewer pipes.” Government grants and funding for the water infrastructure have become less and less common in the past 30 years. As national debt continues to skyrocket unmitigated, it stands to reason that this trend is the new norm.

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency, water and wastewater utilities in the United States will have to come up with about an additional $300 billion to make up for the difference between what they collect and what they will actually need to spend between 2010 and 2030.” They’ll be getting this money from consumers.

“In Australia, Melbourne’s gravity-fed water system uses less than 10 percent of the energy needed to transport water of mountains in Sydney or to pump groundwater from deep aquifiers in Adelaide.” In the absence of a gravity-fed water supply, pumps are used to move the water from rivers or lake supplies (ex. Chicago, St. Louis), Pumps also sustain the pressure that moves the water through the lines and eventually out of your faucet. Running a massive pump to pressurize the water system consumes a great deal of energy, and there are a great number of cities in areas where this is required. Speaking of those water deficient locations…

U.S. Droughts will be the worst in 1,000 Years. According to Scientific American, NASA scientists have grim projections for draughts in the American Southwest and Central Great Plains. Many of these huge cities and heavily populated areas have been in a state of drought for 11 of the previous 14 years, and projections for the remainder of 22nd century do nothing to ease concerns.

Why you should consider water submetering

The cost of water is on the rise, with average annual increases of approximately 5% (water price per gallon/cubic foot) over the past decade. This is approximately twice the rate of inflation. Water submetering offers property owners and developers a way to avoid eating these increased costs and liabilities while simultaneously promoting water conservation.

By implementing utility submetering, property owners can measure and bill each unit for water usage. Once water is submetered and residents are held accountable for their usage, total consumption can decrease from15 to 30 percent.

Water submetering can benefit property owners and developers of hundreds of apartments, five building communities of under 100 tenants, and even landlords managing several duplexes. The rise of water prices will only continue to facilitate the growth of the submetering industry in years to come. Will you catch the submetering wave early and ride smoothly to shore?


* Quotes sourced from Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource by David Sedlak

Will Barton is a Field Services Technician for WaterWatch Corporation. He is responsible for analyzing, managing and maintaining the WaterWatch network of water, electric and gas meters; as well as AMR systems across the country. 


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