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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

« Madison's Kite Aerial Photographer | Main | Wisconsin Water: Midwest Environmental Advocates »

July 24, 2007


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Melissa Scanlan

Increasing the price of water as usage increases can encourage water conservation. However, I agree that the increase needs to start at a point that is meaningful. Rates are just one of many strategies to encourage water conservation, and should not be pursued solo. Midwest Environmental Advocates published a report on water conservation that provides examples of best practices. You can download it for free at

This type of inreasing rate pricing is preferable (conservation-wise) to that which exists in most of Wisconsin - the declining rate structure for large water users. This is just what it sounds like, the more water you use, the less it costs per unit. This unfortunately is the prevailing rate structure set by Wisconsin's PSC and this needs to be addressed.

Dan Sebald

A progressive water charge (more use, bigger fee) would be the way to go for conservation, I'd think.

There is so much more to the issue of water, and in such a way that it doesn't even come to mind. It hinges on the lack of forethought when cities began building infrastructure. First, we (meaning just about every city I know of) use perfectly good drinking water for things like toilets and lawns. Perhaps there is no meaningful way of dealing with that at this point, but it is kind of wasteful. In the same way, we mix residential and industrial waste streams, if I understand correctly. In some ways, that is another subsidy for corporations. Why doesn't industry treat its more toxic waste stream separately?


Thanks for breaking that down; you brought up things that hadn't occurred to me.

I can't wait for the day when bottled water is history as it is wasteful in so many ways.

Jim Kelly

The residents of Madison should be getting credit for the awareness of proper water usage. Just 30 years ago, average residential consumption averaged over 100 ccf (74,800 gallons). Last year that average was 85 ccf (63,660 gallons).
Over the years, conservation programs initiated by then manager Larry Russel, and followed through by subsequent managers have not only dealt with the residential but total consumption. The increase in annual consumption has lagged behind the total development in the city. Given the conservation efforts already in place, care should be given to set those limits so that penalties are not set on folks who are already sensitive to water use.
One of the real problems with the Utility has not been addressed, and that is the financial structure of the Utility. Because of certain changes in financial reporting, the fact that the Utility has lost money from operations for the last two years has not been highlighted. This will hamper the Utility's ability to borrow for future improvements

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