Water pricing can reduce consumption in times of scarcity: IWA


Household consumption of water around the world varies from 28 to 631 litres per day, says a 12th edition of the International Statistics for Water Services 2016 launched by the International Water Association (IWA).

The report, launched in connection with the World Water Congress and Exhibition in Brisbane, Australia, reveals that water taxes vary between 0 and 28 percent of the total bill.

  • Other key findings of the report include the following:
  • No single tariff structure is trending worldwide. Fixed charges versus variable charges, environmental charges or not, they all have different advantages and disadvantages around the world.
  • Water consumption remains subsidized in many countries and cities.
  • Water pricing is a useful tool for reducing water consumption in times of water scarcity, keeping in mind that the price elasticity for potable water is, in general, very low or even zero.

“Water is a human right, while wastewater is not. When we look at pricing trends, we are seeing a divergence of the VAT charged on water and wastewater. A low VAT for potable water, which is a human right, and a higher VAT for wastewater collection and treatment, which is not a human right,” says Ed Smeets, chairman of the IWA Specialist Group Statistics and Economics.

“One of water managements’ goals should be to make the total cost and recovery of water visible so that we as customers will have a better understanding of our own responsibilities to optimize usage,” Smeets continued.

Rajani Baburajan