USGS - science for a changing world

The USGS Water Science School

Opinion SurveyHandling your water crisis:
Raising the cost of water

One of the most effective ways of changing behavior in people is to use ... you guessed it, money. Money can be used to encourage desired behavior, or, by charging or withholding money, you can discourage undesirable behavior. You can use this to your advantage in your water crisis. You could either give people monetary rebates if they use less water or raise the price of water to encourage them to use less.

Let's look at some Ups and Downs of these options:

Raising the price of water will work -- people and industries will use less water if it costs more.

Raising water prices brings in more money; money that you could use to do things like find new sources of water or build new water-storage facilities.

Charging people more money for water is a guaranteed way to get them mad at you. Maybe mad enough to make them vote for your opponent in the next election.

When costs (such as for water) go up for an industry, sometimes they have to scale back. This means that some people might lose their jobs. You might resent it if you lost your job because the water bill went up!

You use water in your home, too, so your water bill will also be higher!

What do you think? Would you raise the price of water in order to save water? What do your classmates think?

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