Municipalities and policy makers seeking incentives to improve water conservation should embrace direct water billing by the apartment industry, according to a new study produced in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 10 municipal water utilities and two national apartment associations.
The National Multiple Family Submetering and Allocation Billing Program Study, a three-year effort to determine the water savings potential in the apartment sector from requiring residents to pay for their water consumption separately from their rent, found that billing residents for their water usage by direct metering could reduce annual water consumption by an average of 15 percent.
The research, conducted by Aquacraft under the direction of Dick Bennett of the East Bay (CA) Municipal Utility District, found that fully 85 percent of apartment properties still include water in the rent. This suggests there is enormous conservation potential if utilities use their avoided costs to provide incentives to property owners to upgrade plumbing fixtures and implement direct billing programs.
Click here to download the study without data appendix (2.5 mb)
Click here to download the study with full appendix (6.4 mb)
Click here to read Aquacraft's press release
Click here for NMHC's press release.