Better federal water bill assistance with this one weird trickKeys to affordable water bills?When Congress created a new $638 million federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) last December, it was part of


How to stop taxing waterIt’s hard to know exactly how much money Americans are paying in taxes at the tap, but it’s a lot. Last time I described the variety of ways that governments


Collecting tax revenue through water bills hurts affordability & turns utilities into coercive agents of governmentCan you find the tax?They may not realize it, but tens of millions of Americans pay taxes on the


California utility regulators lead the way with comprehensive affordability assessmentWonderboy was the star of the movie, but Savoy Special won the gameBetween a global pandemic and a presidential election, you might have missed it, but


What happens when governments ask the public to report water waste?Ever feel like you're being watched?Rainfall has been low, the mountain snowpack is thin, and Californians are bracing for another year of scarcity. But


On the limits of means-tested assistance programs for water & sewerRed Sox legend Ted Williams was the last player to bat over .400... in 1941**Warning: sports metaphor ahead**Like hitting a baseball, running a means-tested


When utility regulation fails, democracy failsPhoto: Texas TribuneThe utility failures in the Lone Star State last week cascaded into a disaster when extreme weather hit an isolated electrical grid.* But more than a natural


Managing the $638 million low-income water & sewer assistance in the federal COVID relief packageNow what?As frequent readers of this page likely know, the COVID relief bill that Congress passed in December included $638


Confluence. [kän-flü-ən(t)s]. n. A coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point.Water is a big deal in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania is a swing state. Am I being to subtle?More evidence that, in a


Why water should be the Biden Administration’s top environmental priorityEvidently the president-elect is confident managing stormwater.The Biden administration’s environmental policy priorities are likely to be quite different from the Trump administration’s, and the impending


​About that water affordability study in The Guardian...Water is a ZILLION PERCENT unaffordable! Also, aliens.The Guardian recently published a big story on water utility affordability in the United States. The headline was shocking: “Millions of


​Organization of U.S. drinking water utilities in a few simple figuresHere are some graphs that convey ​a few key things about the organization of drinking water utilities in the United States​.*Sources: Energy Information Administration


​Sovereignty isn’t what’s on paper, it’s what flows through taps and riversEnvironmental sovereignty (Photo: nativenewsonline.net)America is slowly awakening to the dire state of tribal water and sewer systems. Access to drinking water and sanitation


​The congressional COVID cavalry isn’t coming to save the water sector"Nobody got nothing to say about a 40-degree day."The ink was barely dry on a $2 trillion coronavirus response law when Congress started working


​During a public health crisis, getting the research right is paramountBeware the confundus charm​It started with a tweet.A new peer-reviewed Utilities Policy article on water utility ownership, low-income households, and shutoffs? From a pair


for a federal low-income water bill assistance program All watery eyes are fixed on Washington The ink is barely dry on the $2 trillion coronavirus response law, but there are rumblings that a another


How the federal government might end shutoffs & keep water flowing during the COVID-19 crisis Can't do this if your water has been shut off.The COVID-19 crisis has escalated America’s water and sewer affordability


​​Lessons from California ​water conservation​, 2019​Reservoirs aren't supposed to look like this.Tough water times may be back in California. After the Golden State suffered through a historically severe drought from 2012-2017, ​pleasantly wet weather


Playing  to win  not to lose in water utility managementNature's Prevent DefenseWarning: strained sports metaphor coming.It’s late January, and the National Football League season soon reaches its climax with the Super Bowl. Both of


U.S. water utilities are shifting costs to low-volume customers—good for revenue stability, but bad for affordability​Luke Skywalker & friends escaped this crunch thanks to everyone’s favorite droid, but R2D2 isn’t going to help utilities


An update on what low-income U.S. households must pay for essential serviceIt's hard to come up with amusing images for this topicAbout a year ago I also published the results of a national study


​A five-point proposal to transform the U.S. water sectorAs daunting as the challenges in the U.S. water sector are, solutions are possible and within our grasp. Thanks to legions of smart, creative scientists and


Water Sector Reform #5: Environmental JusticePhoto credit: EJCW.orgWith a major federal investment in water infrastructure possibly on the horizon, the United States has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage that money into a structural transformation of


Important developments in California for utility affordabilityYou probably need all threeCalifornia’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is working on establishing methods to measure affordability for utility service. The CPUC governs ratemaking for the state’s investor-owned


Water Sector Reform #4: Human CapitalPeople + Pipes​With a major federal investment in water infrastructure possibly on the horizon, the United States has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage that money into a structural transformation


Water Sector Reform #3: Smart SystemsSewer inspectors: Old School & New SchoolWith a major federal investment in water infrastructure possibly on the horizon, the United States has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage that money


​Water Sector Reform #2: ​Regulatory Transparency & FairnessBringing together the best of both states​With a major federal investment in water infrastructure possibly on the horizon, the United States has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage


​Better TogetherWater Sector Reform #1: ConsolidationWith a major federal investment in water infrastructure possibly on the horizon, the United States has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leverage that money into reforms to transform America’s water


What the Cuyahoga River Fire says about the past and maybe the future Fifty years ago this week the Cuyahoga River caught fire in downtown Cleveland.Observers of U.S. water policy and environmentalism more generally have


A Kansas water utility gets affordability measurement right And lo, there arose from the Kansas City suburbs a mighty measurement Recently we’ve seen progress in affordability measurement, as more water utilities are using better


A trillion-dollar federal infrastructure package and a chance to reform the water sectorThis post is not about theoretical physics- Warning: mixed metaphors ahead -Observers of America’s water, sewer, and stormwater systems have known for


A decoupling drama plays out in San JoseDo you know the way?The San Jose Water Company recently proposed a significant rate increase, and its customer are understandably unhappy. Their discontent is an ironic result


A California surprise: updatePost-drought pornCalifornia has been enjoying a great deal of rain and snow over the past several months—a pleasant rebound in precipitation after the brutal drought that plagued the state from 2011-2017.


Black, White, and Hispanic Americans experience water utility service differentlyThese women all seem happy with their water. But what discontents lurk behind those smiles?Over the past couple of years there’s been a growing recognition


Devils (and angels) in the details, Part 5The ironic regressivity of a luxury taxIn early January the California Water Board (SWRCB) published its long-anticipated draft proposal for a statewide low-income water bill assistance program. I’ve