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Health, Science & Environment

Utah House Passes Tiered Water Pricing Bill

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Flickr: Laura Nawrocik

The Utah House has passed a bill that would require culinary water providers to charge based on a tiered rater structure.

Senate Bill 28 is a based on an audit recommendation that water customers who use more water should pay more money. The bill’s floor sponsor, Rep. Lee Perry, says the data shows that this is one of the best ways to encourage water conservation.

“If we’re going to have audits one we should follow the guidance of those audits," Perry says. "We ought to listen to what they’ve told us. We spent seven months as a committee studying this issue and this was one of the best practices we felt like the auditors gave us and that’s why I’d appreciate your support.”

The bill passed easily in the house by a vote of 64 to 9, but that didn’t stop members of the House from having a robust debate about it. Rep. Curt Webb voted against the legislation. He and others who opposed it were concerned the bill would lead to increased water prices.

“It says, in the name of conservation you can charge anything you want, because there’s no maximum on it,” Webb says.

But Perry says the bill intentionally leaves pricing up to each individual provider.

“We’re going to let you make the decisions, but we feel like as a body we need to send that message very clearly that we are an arid state and we need to conserve water and you need to set that tiered system up," he says. "We know it works.”

All that’s left before the bill becomes law is a signature from the Governor. 

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