Austin’s critical water situation is an important element of affordability. Veteran energy and water activist and author of the Austin Environmental Directory, Paul Robbins, weighed in recently with this guest editorial in the Austin American-Statesman:
Robbins: Austin needs to take measures to control water rates
Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, April 12, 2014
BY PAUL ROBBINS – SPECIAL TO THE AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Austin’s cost of living is soaring, and one reason is its water costs. Water rates are falling into a dangerous pattern. It’s called a “death spiral.” Costs go up, inducing market pressure to drive consumption down, eliminating revenue needed to pay fixed costs. So rates go up again, causing consumers to cut back further, and the spiral gets steeper.
At the same time, the Central Texas region is afflicted with record drought, so consumption is heavily discouraged. Water rates will go higher to make up for even more lost revenue.
Robbins is an environmental activist, consumer advocate, and author of “Hard to Swallow,” a report on Austin’s high water costs.