The story goes something like this: We are asked to conserve water, but the net result of that, including the effect of business shut downs which, in turn, cause those businesses to cease consuming water, is that we are short 13-15 million dollars from our expected water and sewage revenues. (See full details in Spec today under Emma Reilly's Water Controls Dry Up Revenue.)
Water conservation is a good thing, but its place in the economic equation isn't. Less water used may mean a a 6-7% increase in water rates in 2011, due to lost revenues.
It's a trend, not a one off. The last several years have followed suit. It also appears that residential users are getting better at conserving water, decreasing usage by 9.9% over the summer.
There's a flip side. Less sewage is going through the treatment plant, theoretically lowering treatment costs. Less stress on the treatment plant, means longer life of the plant before significant capital investment needs to be made.
But given that immediate revenues have greater profile than longer term gains, conservation is hurting us (in a way). Need a drink to understand this twisted logic? Make it water...or not......