Luciana Belknap

Luciana Belknap
M.S, Sustainability in the Urban Environment, Graduate

Cohort Level: Cohort - V

Expected Graduation Date: January 2, 2022

Degree: M.S Sustainability in the Urban Environment

Research Title: Economic Effects of Drought Water Rates on Residential Water Users

Research Synopsis: Dams and reservoirs have environmental costs. However, these structures provide various important services, one of them is to supply water. it is possible that during short-term droughts, water supply dams are not able to reach their supply goals. To avoid new water supply expansion, the EPA recommends water utilities to implement water rates that incentivize customers to reduce water use, along with implementing efficiency measures. Since 2016, the North East USA has been experiencing short-term droughts. In this project, we will be assessing the impact of these events on decrease water levels in water reservoirs, and effect on residential water rates. Records of droughts will be obtained from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Storm Events Database (SED). Exploratory research to track changes in water levels of water reservoirs will help determine the areas of the investigation. To assess droughts impacts on the rate charged to residential customers, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) water and wastewater rate surveys will be used. Also capturing the true marginal costs of water will require to avoid fixed fees within rates, thus water rates is being converted to volume-based rates.