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Water: Sustainable Infrastructure

Affordability Considerations


Pricing discussions must always involve considerations of equity as well as efficiency. Low-income households, especially those served by high-cost systems, may face affordability problems if prices are raised. To alleviate these hardships, communities may offer pricing structures that mitigate impacts on low-income households. The most common example is "lifeline rates," whereby low-income households are charged lower rates on that portion of water consumption considered non-discretionary (the minimum sanitary requirement, e.g., 6,000 gallons a month), but higher charges are levied on water consumption beyond that amount. The  Water Research FoundationExit EPA Disclaimer has comprehensive information on water affordability programs.

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