2015 Water Tariff Survey: Nauru’s Refugee Processing Centre Tops World Water Price Rankings

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The results of Global Water Intelligence’s 2015 Water Tariff Survey expose the impact of regulatory concerns on global tariff rises, while drought conditions push rates in Latin America and the US to fresh highs.

The Nauru Utilities Corporation’s charges to the Refugee Processing Centre on the island are the highest utility water charges anywhere in the world according to Global Water Intelligence’s 2015 Water Tariff Survey. The utility charges $1,170 for a 10,000 litre delivery to the centre that it hosts for the Australian government, corresponding to a benchmark water tariff of US$93.91/m3. This compares to a global average of $1.04/m3 for water only and US$1.96/m3 for a full water and sewerage service.

The 2015 Survey also shows that growth in domestic water and wastewater charges continued to outstrip inflation in the past year, with the global average combined tariff across 370 cities worldwide rising by 4.1%. Although increased energy prices and the impact of the strong dollar saw many utilities continue to offload costs onto consumers, tariff hikes in some regions were pegged back by regulatory concerns and pressure on consumer tariffs in countries such as the UK, Ireland, and the Philippines.

South America witnessed some of the largest increases, as utilities struggled to contain the effects of drought and the poor performance of local currencies against the dollar. Brazil, for example, witnessed an average countrywide tariff increase of 13.9% to reach a combined tariff of $2.01/m3.

The average price of water in North America is gradually converging on European levels, increasing by 4.8% to $3.66/m3 (against $3.83/m3 in Western Europe). In California the ongoing drought continues to take its toll, with many utilities deciding to re-evaluate rate structures in order to help reduce demand – in San Jose for example a reduction in the number of tariff bands this year translated into a hefty 27.9% increase on our 15m3 per month benchmark consumption.

Meanwhile tariffs in South Asia have barely moved, where the culture of low water prices stands in stark contrast to sub-Saharan Africa - residents in Delhi pay $0.24/m3 but their income per capital is more than three times that of residents of Kampala in Uganda, where the average tariff is $1.31/m3.

Global Water Intelligence (GWI) researches and publishes business data and information about the water markets worldwide. Based in Oxford, UK with another office in USA (Austin, Texas), GWI has researchers and office staff in many other countries. It publishes three subscription titles and a free weekly GWI Briefing email (http://www.globalwaterintel.com/accounts/mailinglist/) and around four individual reports per year on particular water sectors/geographic regions. It also organises two major financial conferences for the water industry each year: the American Water Summit in Autumn and the Global Water Summit in Spring.

For more information about the Water Tariff Survey, visit:

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Chantal Marchesi