Customizing water budgets for individual irrigation users
Water providers face many challenges today. Significant capital reinvestment needs, increasing regulatory requirements, and changing climate patterns to name a few. In response to the changing industry, our water utilities need to become more efficient in their operations, and more sophisticated in generating revenue from water sales. Not surprisingly, the utility’s ability to maintain rate structures that provide fair rates for today’s water service needs—and allow flexibility for the future—is critical to their financial sustainability.
The Toho Water Authority provides potable and reclaimed water for irrigation purposes. And in 2017, the Authority hired us to help develop water budgets for their irrigation accounts. The old, inclining block rate structure was deemed inappropriate as it had significant variations in irrigation needs between different accounts. Farmers that were using very little water were getting charged as much as farmers that were using a lot. To move toward better, more equitable rates, we helped Toho become the first water utility in Florida to define individual irrigation account budgets based on acreage, crop type, soil type, beneficial rainfall, evapotranspiration data, and irrigation efficiency.
Today, with individual customer budgets, the Authority is in a better position for stable revenue generation, improved customer acceptance, and increased water use efficiency.
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