According to SFPUC & WolframAlpha, the rate in a San Francisco multi-family is around €1.80/kL for the first ~8.5kL/month. This is exclusive of the meter flat rate and any other taxes and fees. Charging 3.5x as much for water makes a lot of things possible.
This is converted from $513.54 for 2629 CU. FT. from my last quarterly bill. Basically one year of water+sewer in a two-family house with all water saving features is higher than the monthly rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment.
One more factoid: the pH of the water is 9.3: http://www.belmont-ma.gov/dpw-water-division/faq/what-is-the... I'm sure this is to protect us from lead, but it makes the water gross.
Warning: no data, just intuition, in the rest of this comment.
I'm a bit confused by that, actually, since California is in a significant drought and there is a lot of pressure to get people to cut back on washing their cars and watering their lawns. I would imagine that, in a residential setting, roughly 100% of water consumed for purposes besides the external use that we're trying to reduce then goes into the sewer.
So why don't we just increase water prices and cut sewer prices equivalently? You'd expect the average consumer's bill to go up only in proportion with the amount of externally used water that they "waste". One potential complication might be for houses with septic tanks, but those are probably fairly uncommon in the area served by SFPUC. Perhaps, as a utility, they're constrained to charge relative to their actual cost in those areas.
Edit: retric - thanks, that makes sense. I'm a renter here, so I don't pay a water bill (except indirectly via rent).
What the water costs only limits the water use, it doesn't change how much can be spent on water treatment and other projects, there is also tax money.
Sweden and Denmark have very high taxes, it helps.
These articles are unfortunately all in Swedish - swedes prefer to keep their bad news local:
Raw sewage from new apartment buildings connected directly to one of the most popular bathing places in central Stockholm that ran out freely for at least three years:
Farm organizations warning about swimming in Stockholm's water after rainfall:
Raw sewage that has run directly out into bathing water in central Stockholm from an apartment house for the past 85 years:
An article stating that the equivalent of 354 Olympic-sized swimming pools of raw sewage and polluted water gushes straight out into the middle of Stockholm's water every year:
An article about the large scale of health problems following outbreaks of serious bacterial infections from tap water infected by raw sewage systematically entering drinking water without ultraviolet cleaning:
Heavy metals and other poisons in Stockholm's water:
Still, the water in central Stockholm is much better than in many comparable cities. That doesn't mean it isn't bad compared to a non-major-city body of water, but it's very good by those standards. The standard "very good" here means fish and other wildlife is doing alright, and swimming is ok.
I think Swedish drinking water is usually excellent, although it's a lot worse in the major cities (where most people live).
judging by this years' winter weather, global warming might solve this.
Not to say I think climate change isn't a problem, but I don't think it's responsible for the current weather to the degree others seem to think. Although it would be nice to point to the current weather and say "living proof!", I think it's probably not correct.
As a single guy, I consume nowhere near my allocated 748 gallons/month, meaning my effective rate is even higher.
My family's consumption is 105 litres (28 gallons) per person per day. And we don't really think about the water consumption but I think we use it abundantly; we do sports and naturally take daily showers, have sometimes guests who also use toilet, etc.
I cycle to work, and it means that I take a shower in the morning at the office building, and another one in the evening back home. So one shower per day is included in the domestic consumption (for me, and for others who don't cycle but also take a daily shower at home).
I don't think that's so different between U.S., Copenhagen or my place (Finland). It might be different in less modernist cultures where people don't have bathrooms of their own but go to communal baths -- for example, communities in East Karelia/Russia; there many people just bath twice a week in a public баня and that would surely show up in water consumption per person when measured per apartment. On the other hand, there you probably will see that water is not priced at cost and many many taps will leak a lot...
Am I missing a joke?
It's also not very good tasting to a lot of people including me.
To me, there is great water throughout scandinavia with the exception of denmark because of the chalky soil.
You can't even believe the water quality reports because the Federal agencies distort them wildly. There was a massive scandal that resulted in both the CDC and EPA being caught falsifying evidence.
See the WASA lead contamination scandal from 2001-2010, in which the EPA falsely claimed that the water was safe, even as their treatment chemicals were dissolving lead in pipes and joints. The CDC was charged with determining the extent of the problem, and claimed that the high levels of lead were not a public health risk, a claim that later investigators from independent institutions stated were "scientifically indefensible."
Lead levels in the last decade were found to be as high as 83 times the acceptable standard for drinking water.
The water comes from the Potomac, is heavily treated with chloramine (which unlike chlorine dissolves lead), then runs through mains which were laid generally between the Civil War and WWI, and finally into old 5-6 story buildings (which due to height restrictions are often remodeled but seldom rebuilt), almost all of which have lead in the plumbing.
The water is so bad that even the heavily filtered water at my home has a terrible taste.
The government claims that the problem is "almost certainly resolved" after the addition of further treatment chemicals, not including the removal of chloramine, which frankly makes their claims implausible.
The Washington Post estimates that ~15,000 households in the city are still receiving extremely high dosages of lead.
Oh, and the Potomac is essentially sludge downstream from the city. The beautiful waterfront in Georgetown is actually the site of a CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow), so that every time it rains, the city's untreated sewage is dumped at the very location where the river is most used.
The problem is a government that injected a cheaper treatment chemical into the water supply that dissolves that lead, and then lies about it to the public.
I believe the average annual replacement rate is around 1%.
Replacement information: https://www.dcwater.com/lead/scheduled_replacements.cfm
This is the water purification setup near my home, Rotterdam, the Netherlands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbGw8FH3I58. I guess it's a setup like everywhere else. Of course the Dutch have a name in the water industry, so there might be more reason to do it right than in other countries.
Still, there are plenty of things to improve.
- The systems for sewerage and surface water / rain are not separated everywhere for example.
- The "Hoogheemraadschap" responsible for keeping surface water clean is the oldest political system in Holland. At first sight a nice idea, but do we really have to democratically elect these people? What about firefighters, police officers, army generals?
- A friend of mine organizes a yearly swimming event in the Maas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meuse). It's still not as clean as it could be though. The industry, for example Sitech, dumps chemicals in the water and institutions like the one above don't fine fast and high enough.
If you're Dutch you can watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99WW9ALModY
It's an interesting subject to read about. Here are some links:
Also EU has relaxed limits for nitrates, to the point it could hurt infants and some aquarium fish. When some post-soviet countries were joining EU, our nitrate limits were considered too strict, and we had to lower them.
Why can't we have a sane government that acts with logic and science? You know like one that immediately closed factories that were linked to salmonella outbreaks. Instead of punting for TEN YEARS while thousands of Americans get sick.
Also, will never forget water in Switzerland (namely - Chur). Perfect, crisp, cold mountain water. Yumm. The worst water was in American Samoa, smelled like feces.
But I agree Copenhagen's water is fine for drinking. I even like the taste. What it's a problem for is fixtures and appliances, which chalk up extremely fast, even compared to other areas I've lived with hard water. Showers, faucets, etc. all needs to be "de-kalked" at least every week, ideally every few days. Even simply leaving a glass of water out on the counter for one day will start to produce chalk lines that take effort to remove. Keeping an espresso machine operational is also a challenge, requiring pretty religious usage of the cleaning cycle with a de-chalking tablet.
I can imagine that kind of tap water being extremely frustrating. I've been very satisfied with the tap water everywhere I've lived, but it sounds like I'd be a bottled water guy in Copenhagen.
I even think most of our bottled water here is tap water.
How is pH adjustment not "chemical processing"?? How do they alkalinize water without adding alkaline electrolytes (Mg,K,Na, etc.) in chemical form?
You can play with the ph level of the water by simply filter or let it evaporate.
But we don't drink bottled water in Scandinavia because our tap water is of great quality, unlike a lot of other places.
The tap water in Copenhagen varies a lot. Depending on the plant your hooked up too. It can be very chalky and it can be very smooth. Strangly enough this is not throughout the rest of the country. Copenhagen water is probably the worst compared to the rest of the country.
Jumping in the harbor is okay, but it's far from being as clear as going to the beach.
How they cleaned it up is actually pretty interesting. Obviously they stopped dumping waste in it in the first place. After that they placed a lot of ropes and concrete structures all over the ocean floor, to give starfish and other ocean creatures habitats. Those creatures did most of the cleaning, humans just facilitated it.
Here's an article in Norwegian about it:
I mean, Hong Kong is pretty much downstream from the Pearl River. That water runs through some of the most industrialized areas of China. And if you think I trust Chinese authorities for matters in environmental protection, you'd be dead wrong. Yet, Hong Kongers generally don't worry too much about the water quality around here. People eat the seafood caught around here without second thought. People even swim in the Victoria Harbour. In fact, we hold cross-harbour swim races in winter and nobody seems to get sick from the water.
All of this isn't to say that people are paranoid. I'm just surprised that this is an issue.
The increased water quality is one of the big successes of increased environmental awareness that environmental organizations fought for in the 1980s.
Even in relatively modern cities like New York, the rivers are still fairly disgusting. I'd be quite surprised if existing environmental regulations are being enforced there now.
Sounds like a good system. Just wondering how long if it can last long term, and if other places can adopt it.
Aquifers can collapse into voids that should have water, and being full of fresh water helps prevent intrusion by saltwater near the coasts (this is happening in the Central Coast even now), or by fracking waste in fracked areas.
iirc they have some kind of pressure monitoring.
The water there is already purified and clean (slowly went through rocks). It's actually super impressive to see the well, it is so clear that the water level is not visible, looks like it is totally empty.
There's a similar setup in Zurich, ground water is directly drinkable (iirc they oxygenate it a bit for test), while the lake water goes through sand filters (it is generally drinkable, but much better to remove particles).
Something weird I learned while visiting is that they put extra chalk on purpose to prevent pipes from deteriorating in old buildings (they experimented with lower amounts and had some troubles with leakage).