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Water – Who Needs It? Increasing Costs under Conditions of Scarcity

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In the fast-growing western United States, virtually everyone agrees that new water sources are needed to supply new development, but debate remains regarding the best method to obtain the necessary supplies and to fairly and equitably recover the costs associated with new development. More than ever before, water utilities must carefully estimate future water demand, identify strategies to provide the required water, and investigate the true costs of implementing those strategies.

This paper and presentation provide an overview of current water supply challenges facing communities in the West, including the increasing cost of new supplies, and provides examples of methods available to local utilities and governmental authorities to recover such costs. Northern Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona are examples of communities that exhibit exponentially increasing costs to acquire additional water resources.

With this information, utility managers may opt to shift from impact fees or water rates developed using a historical cost basis for traditional surface or groundwater supplies, to fees or rates based on a more realistic cost projection for a portfolio of alternative water sources and efficiency projects.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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