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Design of environmentally and socially conscious water metering tariffs for the UK

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England is one of the few industrialised countries where water metering is not compulsory. Most households instead pay a fixed charge regardless of use. Yet water consumption is already at the limit of resources and beyond them in some regions. Despite the need to control demand, compulsory water metering has not been implemented largely because of concerns about the regressive impact on poorer households. This research analysed new data from Anglian Water on household water consumption and income to examine the distributional impacts of ten different hypothetical tariff designs. It was found that it was possible to design revenue-neutral metered tariffs that would cause only a small percentage of low-income households to lose and most to gain. With sensitive design, the social concerns about compulsory water metering can be dealt with.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Environment Group, Policy Studies Institute, London, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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