Volumetric sewer pricing is the simple concept of billing a customer for the volume of water discharged to the sewer based on the water meter reading -- water the customer actually uses as opposed to a flat charge. The less water a customer uses, the less the bill will be. As a result, wastewater volumetric rates provide important incentives for water efficiency to customers and offer a more fair pricing structure. According to a study commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), converting flat-rate residential customers to volumetric rates could eventually save California nearly 100 billion gallons of water per year, a significant benefit to both water suppliers and wastewater treatment agencies.
With California's landmark Water Conservation Act of 2009 now requiring that per capita urban water use be reduced by 20 percent by 2020, water suppliers throughout the state are looking for additional ways to achieve water savings; cooperation with wastewater agencies is one such means. Thus, converting to volumetric sewer pricing can save water in addition to providing more equitable wastewater financing.