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Conservation rates: the best ‘new’ source of urban water during drought

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Abstract

In the United States, water conservation-oriented rates (WCOR) are an increasingly vital tool for promoting water conservation and mitigating urban drought. Our models prove that one type of WCOR, drought demand rates (DDR), can produce with minimal regulation the quadruple objectives of conservation rates: (1) improving efficiency; (2) providing revenue neutrality; (3) assuring distributional equity and (4) guaranteeing the conservation of water. We demonstrate that such rates can also reduce days that urban streams drop below ‘critical flow’ levels, providing a voice for nature. Our study is situated in northern New Castle County (NCC), Delaware (DE), USA, and the lessons garnered have relevance for industrialized communities seeking a ‘soft-path’ to drought mitigation.
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Keywords: critical stream flows; demand-side management; drought; environmental justice; sustainable development; urban; water conservation; water rates; water supply

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Studies, Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, USA; 2: Center for Energy & Environmental Policy and School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA

Publication date: 01 June 2008

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