May and June 2020 data for the eight water utilities in our study show diverging trends of water consumption and revenues as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, with states and local governments taking different approaches and timelines to rolling back restrictions. There are signs of recovery in water consumption and revenues for many utilities, mostly due to high residential consumption and billed revenues, not increased usage from non-residential customers. Utilities in this study have shown average to strong residential consumption and even stronger residential revenues, likely bolstered by usage associated with hot and dry summer conditions as well as inclining tier rate structures that put a premium on higher residential usage. Non-residential consumption in May and June 2020 was near or below the three-year historical average for all utilities, as were non-residential revenues.
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions