Financing Sustainable Water

August 14, 2014

An Initiative to Help Water Managers Build Better Rates - Handbook and Rate Model Help Create Rate Structures to Support Revenue Stability and Sustainable Resource Management

In 2014, the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) launched Financing Sustainable Water, an initiative created to help water managers build better rate structures that improve revenue stability, yet encourage resource efficiency. Aimed at combatting the common misperception that conservation makes rates rise, the Financing Sustainable Water initiative was designed to provide helpful tools and data to water managers, elected officials, and consumers.

At,  water managers can find innovative new resources to support rate setting efforts. A handbook, Building Better Water Rates for an Uncertain World: Balancing Revenue Management, Resource Efficiency and Fiscal Sustainability, provides guidance on developing, evaluating, and implementing efficiency-oriented rate structures.

Managers can also download the AWE Sales Forecasting and Rate Model, which is the first-ever public domain rate model to incorporate the principles of probability management into rate making. Users can model various rate changes and alternative rate structures to better understand the effects on revenue and water demand. By incorporating historical weather data, drought management plans, and growth projections, users can also simulate the revenue risks of diverse scenarios that may occur over a five-year horizon. Users in water-strained areas can also model the impact of drought rates or use the model to identify drought rates that achieve revenue neutrality.

The Financing Sustainable Water website  also provides case studies on successful utility ratemaking and financial planning, and a Resource Search to help managers find relevant research, reports and tools. There is also specific guidance for groups involved in ratemaking, such as elected officials and water customers. This initiative was made possible through support from the California Water Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, and the Water Research Foundation.

Member-Only Benefit

Financing Sustainable Water Workshops & Assistance 

AWE is offering its members a unique opportunity to access training and technical assistance to support use of the new resources. Utilities must be an AWE member in good standing. Options include:

  • Financing Sustainable Water Workshop for Utility Staff;
  • Technical Assistance with AWE Sales Forecasting and Rate Model Use. Interested? Email us.
  • Download the AWE Financing Sustainable Water Member Offering