COVID-19 makes clear the need for private and public investment in local water systems

August 2020

It costs money to make the infrastructure investments needed to ensure people have clean, safe and healthy water. So, it makes sense that water rates are increasing — both for municipally run systems and for those run by water companies — as necessary investments from upgrading treatment plants to replacing aging water mains are made.

As rates increase to support clean drinking water, there are significant, valid concerns around water affordability. One driver of rates are wholesale water costs. For example, the cost of Lake Michigan water purchased from the City of Chicago, which water companies pass through in rates without any markup, has more than doubled over the past decade.

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