Water Rates Case Studies
Some Massachusetts Public Water Suppliers (PWS) and Water Districts find it challenging to develop water prices and rate structures that encourage water use efficiency and conservation, while also trying to meet some or all of the goals below:
- Ensure the long-term sustainability of water supplies through appropriate cost recovery
- Promote equitable distribution of costs among rate payers
- Protect affordability of water for essential needs
DER and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) are partnering on a project to support PWS and Water Districts that are trying to restructure their rates to better meet all or some of the above goals. In August 2017, DER and DCR conducted a short survey of PWS and Water Districts in Massachusetts focused on whether suppliers have embarked on the process of restructuring their water rates, their goals, successes, and obstacles. Results of the survey can be found under Additional Resources, below.
Several of the PWS and Water Districts who responded to the survey volunteered for further follow-up. Based on in-depth interviews conducted within a subset of these communities, the project team will develop case studies that provide relevant and useful examples of the process PWS/Water Districts have gone through to change rate structures to better balance multiple goals, including lessons learned from both successes and setbacks, and establish points of guidance and recommendations for resources.