- Tucson water rates are set in increasing blocks - the more water you use, the higher your rate per unit of use; this is intended to send a strong conservation message to consumers
- when rates are increased most of the increase is added to the upper blocks (don't want to punish the people who are doing the best job of conserving)
- over time, because most water revenue is derived from water sales, the utility becomes overly dependent on sales in the higher blocks to meet its revenue targets
- who do you think is most likely to conserve when water rates increase, especially rates in the higher blocks? That's right - the users in the higher blocks, because much of that use is discretionary
- the next year, the utility projects another revenue shortfall so rates go up again, even though there was increased conservation the previous year
Here's how Tucson's monthly service charge compares to those from several other cities:
This is what Tucson Water is trying to do this year, but they are certain to get pushback from the city council because of the potential impact on low-income customers. So we'll be revisiting this issue again next year, and probably the year after that.