Water Watch NYC

Everything you need to know about water in NYC.

Does Conservation Equal Higher Water Bills?


I would just like to quickly clarify something about the relationship between conservation, water rates and water bills.

Conservation necessitates higher water rates. There is no way around it: If we consume less of a product (in this case, water) then the product’s variable costs go down. But its fixed costs remain the same which equals a higher cost per unit.

But there is another thing to take into account. If we are conserving water, if we are truly using less of it, then even at a higher cost per unit, our total cost should go down.

Now let’s evaluate the opinion of Coucilman Vacca in the previous post, an opinion shared by many who spoke at last week’s City Council hearing. How can New Yorkers who are conserving water be seeing their water bills go up even as they are dying of dehydration?

The answer is that approximately one-third of the percentage points of the rate hike (4-5%) is going to fund things that are only remotely related to the cost of water, like the unfair rental agreement!

So to conclude: The DEP must stop blaming their rate hikes on conservation. Sure, conservation contributes but if you’re conserving water and your bill is too high, conservation is not to blame. Economics has proven that. The fault lies with the DEP and their enormous budget that continues to spiral out of control.

Author: Hershel

Hershel is a Water Management Engineer with Ashokan Water Services, where he's actively involved with conservation and building design issues. Prior to his Ashokan, he was a Mechanical Engineer with the City of New York. He is a former President of the New York chapter of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) and is a member of BOMA, IREM and NYARM. Hershel is an avid kayaker.

4 thoughts on “Does Conservation Equal Higher Water Bills?

  1. Hi, interesting post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for sharing. I will definitely be coming back to your site. Keep up the good work

    • Good afternoon Liz, and thnaks for your question, which is a good one by the way. The best place for a butterfly box is close to where they are found. If you have a butterfly garden that should be where to put your butterfly box. A butterfly garden usually contains host plants (for egg laying) and feeding plants that provide nectar. If you have a butterfly bush (buddleia) then place the box near the bush, on the sheletered side if you have prevailing winds.Lastly, I suggest you mount it around 3 feet off the ground. I favor the green metal fence posts for mounting butterfly and bird houses.I hope this helps. Please hound me for more information.Chip

  2. Thanks for the information and clarification. I wish you would investigate and explain the NYC Municipal Water Finance Authority and how the securitization of water revenue is playing a role in water rate increases.

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