According to a report in USA Today, water prices in many cities have doubled or even tripled since 2000. On average, water prices go up between 8-13% annually. Water scarcity and inefficient delivery systems are the primary culprits
In North America, about 20% of all water is wasted in the delivery process due to aging systems. To replace these systems would cost about $1 trillion in the United States and $90 billion in Canada over the next 10 years. In order to raise that kind of money, rates have gone up. Other sources of pressure on water prices include regulation compliance and increases in the cost of electricity and water treatment chemicals.
It’s not just the delivery systems that are strained. Capacity systems are also feeling the pressure of demand. A waste water treatment facility can only handle so much water at a time. As a town grows, water consumption increases and these facilities must expand in response. The cost of these expansions is passed on to consumers in the form of taxes and rate increases, but they’re also passed to builders.
Can you comply as a builder?
In order to defer the costs of these capital improvements, municipalities are asking builders to improve the water efficiency of new structures like never before. Since builders are responsible for installing the systems between the main lines and buildings, it’s an easy way to push for efficiency gains. The interplay of regulations, costs, and increasing scarcity all fall on the builder in the end. If a builder cannot deliver a bid that satisfies water regulations and water demands they will not be able to build.
However, there are creative solutions on the market right now to directly address these problems. There are two primary water reclamation technologies that can have a direct impact on the bottom line of a building owner. These are grey water recycling systems and rainwater harvesting solutions. It is estimated that a combination of these systems can reduce a building’s water usage by as much as 50%.
The result is a large reduction in water costs over time, especially if water costs continue on their projected path. Water is not likely to get cheaper in the foreseeable future. By taking steps now, you’ll be prepared for any future shortages.