Rising water costs could make service unaffordable for low-income residents in Austin, new report finds


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The cost of running water, a utility that many people in Austin take for granted, has risen sharply over the past decade, a new report released Wednesday found.

Nina Lakhani, the environmental justice reporter for The Guardian, published an article that studied water and sewage costs in the U.S. and found that they increased an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018.

Lakhani’s reporting particularly looked at those costs in 12 American cities, including Austin. Her analysis found that Austin had the highest price increase during that period of time.

In that nine-year span, water bills went up 154%, Lakhani reported. The annual costs rose from $566 in 2010 to $1,435 in 2018.

“If there isn’t a radical re-think about how water systems are funded in the U.S.,” Lakhani told KXAN’s Will DuPree on Wednesday. “Then, by 2030, water is going to be unaffordable for a really significant number of Americans across the country.”

The analysis in the story included several other major cities, like Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Seattle and New Orleans.

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