18 Aug 2010

Bleg: US water pricing

I welcome any help with these facts.

First, The US has 52,000 water systems, serving 90 percent of Americans. Apparently, 39 million people [NO SOURCE] -- the rest -- get their water from private wells.


Second, does anyone have statistics on the number of systems (or better, customers) who pay for their water based on (1) fixed rate (all you can eat), (2) uniform or flat rate, (3) increasing block rates, or (4) decreasing block rates?

Thanks for any help!


  1. David,

    Yes, there are about 52,000 "public water systems" as regulated under the SDWA by EPA (there are community water systems as well as transient and non-transient non-community water systems) - see definitions and results of the Safe Drinking Water Information System at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/drinkingwater/pws/factoids.cfm

    Yes, the rest are assumted to get their water from private wells - which are not regulated under the SDWA by EPA. I have seen the number 39 million used for years, but I don't know the source. A better statistic may be 15 million households with private wells, which is from the U.S. Census - see http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/

    Regarding rates, I have not sure if what you are looking for is in this survey - but it may be worth a look - http://apps.awwa.org/EbusMain/Default.aspx?TabId=55&ProductID=20859


  2. David,
    Correction - there are 52,000 "community water systems" - that is, public water systems providing water to the same population all year. There are over 155,000 public water systems, which includes community and the non-commnunity (both transient and non-transient) water systems. See the posted link to EPA's website - probably more than you want to know.

  3. @Jeff -- thanks. That AWWA report is $550. Got a spare copy? :)

    btw -- USGS 2005 report on water withdrawals says 43 million on "non-public" systems...

  4. Join AWWA and get a steep discount on various publications that will provide most if not all of the answers. The one that comes to mind is a 2010 survey of rates for a significant number of water utilities.


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