How do you compare? That’s a common question many public utilities face when considering how to set rates and fees for water and wastewater services. Virginia boasts more than 250 public providers of water and wastewater across every size and type of community, which can make benchmarking a challenge. Understanding water and wastewater trends across the Commonwealth is crucial for public utilities and municipalities, especially when they consider rate changes and evaluate capital recovery charges. This information is a primary reason the annual Virginia Water and Wastewater Rate Report is so highly anticipated.
Draper Aden Associates produced the report for more than three decades as it has become an essential resource for public utilities. That’s why the team remained committed to delivering this crucial information when Draper Aden was acquired by TRC Companies, a global professional services firm providing environmentally focused and digitally powered solutions that address local needs, in May. The 2022 edition of the report was released publicly by TRC Companies in October 2022.
Even as public utilities continue to face a challenging and uncertain environment, these results provide valuable intel for planning and strategy.
The two most significant findings from the 2022 survey are related to rate changes. First, the average water rate across the Commonwealth increased by 2.1 percent in 2022 and the average sewer rate increased by 2.5 percent. Both the water rate and wastewater rate increases were slightly lower than the previous year. Since 2012, the average water rate increased by 3.4 percent per year and the average wastewater rate increased by 3.8 percent per year. These increases occurred across a control group of representative utilities that allows the report to extrapolate trends across the state.
Second, 43 percent of respondents reported a water rate increase in 2022 and 53 percent of respondents increased wastewater rates in 2022. Thus, slightly more than half of all providers that participated in the survey raised rates.
In addition to water and wastewater rates, the 2022 report also shares data for connection fees and capital recovery charges.
Looking ahead, water and wastewater providers continue to face a number of challenges. Yet, a significant opportunity for increased resources and funding will come from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This federal funding will provide billions for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, including for water infrastructure.
The 34th Annual Virginia Water and Wastewater Rate Report was produced by TRC Companies. The 2022 Virginia Water and Wastewater Report and previous reports are available for download online. For questions about the Water and Wastewater Report, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.