Promoting Conservation and Social Justice Through Next-Generation Water Prices
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AbstractIt is well understood that water is becoming increasing scarce and that water supply systems are becoming increasingly unreliable in many parts of the world. One part of the solution to these challenges lies in adequately pricing potable water. Proposals to increase prices to encourage conservation and spur innovation, however, have been met with concerns regarding the impact of price increases on the poor. Evidence from a number of jurisdictions indicates that poor households spend a larger share of their income on necessities such as water and, as a result, could be disproportionately harmed by efforts to raise water prices. Moreover, few debates include gendered analyses of the implications of water management models, or an investigation of how women might be differentially affected even though it is likely that higher water prices will mean unequal access to water, along the familiar social gradients of race, class, and gender. This project is an integrated research program that advances the state of knowledge of the economic and social impacts of water pricing reforms and provides project partners with the analytic tools to support their rate setting.
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