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New report from US Water Alliance and Stantec offers innovative model for water pricing equity

Pilot program develops alternative affordability practices for utilities


Today, the US Water Alliance and Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design, released A Promising Water Pricing Model for Equity and Financial Resilience. This report presents an innovative model for pricing and billing water that represents an opportunity to achieve greater equity by reducing water bills for most low-income households while preserving revenue and improving financial resilience for water utilities.  

“This model is an evolution in cost-based pricing that does a better job of aligning how water is paid for with the sources of utility costs than usage-based bills alone,” said John Take, executive vice president and chief growth and innovation officer at Stantec. “This alignment is a fundamentally more equitable approach. Running the data with our partners in Cincinnati showed it can have major affordability benefits.”   

The hypothesis of the study is that specific system costs can be removed from traditional charges like flow and customer-based rates and instead be redistributed with a cost-based methodology using property characteristics that are more reflective of customers’ ability to pay, increasing affordability and equity. The analysis includes frontage feet of properties, parcel area, building footprint, property value, and number of bedrooms.

“This innovative approach to pricing water is intriguing because the model shows it would automatically help the majority of Cincinnati’s low-income customers better afford their water bills, unlike most customer-assistance programs that require customers to take action and enroll,” said Verna Arnette, interim executive director with Greater Cincinnati Water Works. “It addresses fundamental drawbacks to current programs, which are often resource intensive to implement and suffer from low participation rates.”

About the US Water Alliance
The US Water Alliance advances policies and programs to secure a sustainable water future for all. Established in 2008, the Alliance is a nonprofit organization that educates the nation on the true value of water and water equity, accelerates the adoption of One Water principles and solutions, and celebrates innovation in water management. The Alliance brings together diverse interests to identify and advance common-ground, achievable solutions to our nation's most pressing water challenges. Our nearly 200 members and partners include community leaders, water providers, public officials, business leaders, environmental organizations, policy organizations, and more. Follow the US Water Alliance on Twitter and on LinkedIn. 

About Stantec
Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place and of belonging. That’s why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind.

We care about the communities we serve—because they’re our communities too. This allows us to assess what's needed and connect our expertise, to appreciate nuances and envision what’s never been considered, to bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate toward a shared success.

We’re designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.

Stantec trades on the TSX and the NYSE under the symbol STN.

Media Contacts                                               

Anna Yates                                                      
US Water Alliance  

Susan Bender
Stantec Media Relations
Ph (267) 773-9593

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