October 11, 2016 Society

Information every water manager should know

Water Pricing, a useful tool for managing demand?

One of the ultimate goals of water management should be making visible the total cost, and recovery, of the water we all use so that customers will have a better understanding of their own responsibilities to optimize their usage. By representing tariff structures in a transparent way, we hope this report provides some insight to water managers.

The universal ideal of total cost recovery for potable water production and distribution is not a reality on the ground; water consumption remains subsidized in many countries and cities. A significant trend in a number of countries is the use of water pricing as a tool to reduce water use in times of water scarcity. However, the price elasticity for potable water is, in general, very low or even zero.

However, water pricing alone cannot be the tool that ensures sustainable water use. This is only one of the tools available to water managers, regulators and politicians to reach the goal of sustainable water use. Perhaps the most important tool, and one often overlooked, is the behaviour of customers, and their awareness of the true value of the water resources they use. Even in regions with water scarcity we still have to invest in changing this customer behaviour.


IWA publishes the International Statistics for Water Services 2016

This report is now in it’s twelfth edition, and this year contains data from 40 countries and 170 cities. For the first time we have been able to gather data from all five continents, a landmark as the report aims to enable high-level comparisons concerning abstraction, consumption, tariff structure and regulation of water services globally.

The data provide a starting point for debate on how services are financed, how various water tariff structures are set up, which measurements of performance service providers use, how they analyze their microeconomics, and how they manage their services efficiently.

The full data are available online. For more information visit:




Documents and reports attached to this page