Analysis of Spokane's Water Price Changes

Introduction

This year, government officials in the City of Spokane imposed new prices for delivery of that precious, life-giving liquid—water. Under the assumption the region’s water supply is drastically dwindling, city officials say the new policy is “conservation based.” The new rates increase prices for families even if they are not being wasteful. Officials say about half of Spokane residents will pay more under the new prices, and about half will pay less.

Key Findings

  1. The City of Spokane’s monopoly water prices punish larger families even though they have reduced their rate of consumption.
  2. Spokane residents already decreased their water use by 10 percent before rate changes went into effect.
  3. City residents would be better served by a flat and/or a seasonal rate for water.
  4. More than 40 percent of the water used for outdoor purposes percolates back into the aquifer.
  5. The City of Spokane used more than 139 million gallons of water in 2010 on its four city-owned golf courses.

Download a PDF of the full Policy Brief here.