13 Nov 2013

How (not) to implement water metering

After a long delay, I finally got around to revising my paper -- "Tradition versus dogma: water metering in England and Wales," which I also discussed at the AWRA in Portland (PDF slides and 33 min MP3).

Abstract: Water meters are necessary for tracking leaks, allocating costs in proportion to use, or setting prices to encourage conservation. They are not necessary when water is abundant or water supply is considered an obligatory municipal service. This paper discusses the program to increase residential water metering in England and Wales. The basic impacts of this program are fairly straightforward (demand falling by roughly 10 percent, a shift of costs to heavier water users), but other impacts are more controversial (greater burden on the poor, no measurable reduction in water scarcity, dubious net benefits). After reviewing these issues, the paper concludes with suggestions for improving the implementation of metering.

Please send your feedback, corrections and additions in the next month, as I plan to revise this paper and submit it to journals (it may be my last paper for awhile!)