While Americans are now using approximately 400 gallons of water less per year per person than they were three decades ago, they are paying more for water than ever before. Further, those rates are expected to escalate by at least 5 percent per year for the foreseeable future. This is one of the conclusions of a just-published survey conducted by Black & Veatch, a management consulting firm.
According to the report, the cost of water has doubled over the past 12 years in the 29 communities studied, which represent a diverse mix of cities and states throughout the U.S. In fact, in three communities—Atlanta, San Francisco, and Wilmington, DE—water costs have actually tripled or increased by even more. This is true even though actual consumption is lower than it was a decade or more ago.
According to the report, the key reasons for the rising cost of water include:
• Costs related to paying off old municipal bonds issued to fund water repairs and improvements
• Increases in the costs of electricity, chemicals, and fuel used to supply and treat water
• Compliance with government clean-water mandates
• Rising pension and healthcare costs for water agency workers
• Increased security measures to protect the nation’s water supply

"The professional cleaning and carpet cleaning industries use more water than we realize," says Doug Berjer, Product Manager for CFR. "These rate increases may therefore have an impact on our industry."
Berjer notes that large water consuming industries—such as car washes, laundromats and dry cleaners—are already taking steps to reduce water consumption, mostly by recycling and reusing water.
"Recycling and reusing water, whether at a car wash or when carpet cleaning, helps us use water more efficiently," he says. "For [carpet cleaning] techs, this can help moderate the mounting costs of water."