Global Water Intelligence (GWI) survey report showed an upward trend in water, wastewater, and stormwater bills between July 2022 and July 2023. The average increase hit a record-high of 8.2%, the second highest ever recorded by the global water tariff survey. In 2023, 207 cities — compared to last year’s 78 — are beating consumer price inflation, albeit by a small margin. Once adjusted for inflation, the average increase globally is said to be 0.4%. This surge, marked by an average increase, has garnered global attention as the inflation crisis is a force behind these increases, thrusting utilities into managing soaring operational costs.
Another development this year is the increasing acceptance of these tariff hikes among ratepayers, attributed to growing recognition of the global inflation trend. This acceptance has facilitated utilities in justifying these increases to their governing bodies and city councils. The impact of inflation on water tariffs varies across different regions, leading to diverse outcomes. The survey report analyses these tariff dynamics, shedding light on the complexities utilities face in maintaining the balance between the need for sustainable service delivery and meeting the expectations of ratepayers amidst a volatile economic environment.
Southern Asia was said to experience the largest regional increase, driven by substantial hikes in Pakistan. East Asia Pacific, on the other hand, witnessed the smallest regional average increase, as many cities adhered to planned increases without resorting to hikes.
The global water tariff survey 2023 report underscores the impact of global inflation on water tariffs. As cities worldwide navigate economic uncertainties, infrastructure demands, and evolving consumer attitudes, the water tariff landscape reportedly remains in a state of constant flux.