Survey finds U.S. water costs climbing

The annual survey conducted by the NUS Consulting Group found that the average price of water in the United States climbed by 4.4 percent for the period of July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006. The survey, which includes 51 water systems located throughout the country, revealed the highest price paid was in Huntington, W. Va., at $5.61 per one thousand gallons ("KGal") while residents in Greenville, Miss., enjoyed the lowest water price at $0.80 per KGal.

PARK RIDGE, NJ, Aug. 16, 2006 -- The annual survey conducted by the NUS Consulting Group found that the average price of water in the United States climbed by 4.4 percent for the period of July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006. The survey, which includes 51 water systems located throughout the country, revealed the highest price paid was in Huntington, W. Va., at $5.61 per one thousand gallons ("KGal") while residents in Greenville, Miss., enjoyed the lowest water price at $0.80 per KGal. The average cost of water in the U.S. was $2.49 per KGal. Including related sewer costs, the survey also found that the national average rose to $6.29 per KGal – an increase of 5.2 percent from July 2005.

Some of the more notable increases in water prices were observed in Newark, N.J. (+39.9%), Albuquerque, N.M. (+21.8%), Miami, Fla. (+19.5%), Boston, Mass. (+15.8%), San Francisco, Calif. (+14.8%) and Albany, N.Y. (+14.6%). Most of the increases were attributable to maintenance and construction costs, as these cities struggle to upgrade and maintain aging water and sewer systems. Of the surveyed cities, only Portland, Ore. (-24.6%) and Los Angeles, Calif. (-9.3%) reported water rate decreases over the past year.

"Year after year water rates in the United States will predictably increase as cities can no longer forestall much needed infrastructure upgrades and repairs," said Richard Soultanian, co-president of NUS Consulting Group. "Unfortunately, many businesses make the mistake of overlooking their water costs. This once cheap and plentiful resource can no longer be viewed in the same way and businesses must accept the reality that along with other utilities, water prices are on the rise and can adversely affect their bottom-line."

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