Skip to main content

Value Philosophies Applied to Reclaimed Water

Buy Article:

$17.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial


The effluent from municipal wastewater treatment plants is increasing referred to as “reclaimed water” and the facilities themselves as “water reclamation facilities”. The pricing of this reclaimed water product is evolving as utilities essentially search for the right philosophy to employ to promote the use of the product and recover capital and operational costs. Often the reuse of reclaimed water is the key to an effluent management strategy. Many times it is also a means to offset the use of potable water, extending the use of the raw water resource. It is easy for utilities to estimate the cost of implementing a reuse project. Establishing the right price for the product is more difficult and is a matter of accepting a particular pricing philosophy. This paper explores the philosophies of pricing that are emerging and defines the relationship between cost, price, and value.

Many utilities providing reclaimed water use pricing strategies based on promotional pricing to stimulate user demand instead of considering the true cost or value of the water. As reclaimed water programs have evolved from mainly effluent disposal systems to systems focusing on potable water offsets, new pricing philosophies are emerging. The price for potable water utility service for irrigation and other non-potable uses is generally based on conservation pricing methods that charge higher rates as consumers use more water. As reclaimed water began to be considered as a substitute for potable water, promotional pricing was used to gain greater consumer acceptance for the product. Now that consumers have gained confidence using reclaimed water for irrigation, and other nonpotable water uses, the perceived value of the product has increased and consumers are willing to pay more. For some utilities, the pricing philosophy has evolved to the point that reclaimed water is considered equal in value to potable water and pricing is set accordingly. This paper defines various pricing philosophies for reclaimed water and shows the impact of these philosophies on the real value of the reclaimed water product. This paper also explores factors that affect the value of reclaimed water and provides examples from the State of Florida.

Keywords: Reclaimed water; price point; tiered rate structure; value

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more