Affordability of water and wastewater (“water”) utility bills is a growing concern, with water rates rising faster than the cost of most other goods and services. Though many water utilities have been addressing affordability concerns in their own way, customers are still struggling to make ends meet. While there is a robust array of research on problem identification and water affordability interventions, there are few studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of interventions, especially of the more emergent approaches.
This project will address existing policy challenges through direct engagement with the water utilities and organizations representing broader utility stakeholders on the leading edge of addressing affordability. The proposed objectives of this research are to (1) document emerging utility-led affordability innovations across a variety of contexts and geographies; (2) evaluate associated costs, benefits, and feasibility of different approaches for utilities and customers in need; and (3) disseminate the findings to utilities and other stakeholders to help improve responsiveness and effectiveness of affordability efforts.