A new study released by Food & Water Watch this week looked at the rates of the 500 largest water systems, public and private, in the United States. The study found that
- Among the 500 largest water systems, for-profit privately owned systems charge 58 percent more than large publicly owned systems.
- An overwhelming majority of U.S. water customers—87 percent—receive their water from a publicly owned, not-for-profit service provider.
- The 10 most affordable water systems are publicly owned and operated.
- Many of our community water systems are over 100 years old, and in desperate need of repair.
- From 2007 to 2014, the portion of people with water service from a publicly controlled entity increased from 83 percent to 87 percent. The number of publicly owned systems remained steady, but overall added 24 million customers to their networks.
- Between 2007 and 2014, the number of private systems dropped seven percent, while the number of people served by privately owned systems fell by 18 percent (8 million people).
- The average public water utility charged $316.20 for 60,000 gallons a year, while the average for-profit water company charged $500.96 for the same amount.
- West Virginia American Water currently ranks 11th most expensive among the 500 largest water systems considered in the study.