Term Paper: Water Restrictions Block Billing

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Water Restrictions

Block Billing and Water Restrictions

The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze water restrictions in Lubbock Texas. Specifically it will discuss local water restrictions and the block billing system that the city council designed. Lubbock Texas is experiencing a major drought, and water conservation is key to conserving this most precious of resources. However, the City Council's solution, block billing and raising water rates, simply does not address the problem, since the calculation period used was faulty. In addition, some communities who have utilized block billing structures in the past have eliminated them due to inaccuracies and other problems. Block billing is used to create water conservation, but water restrictions were implemented after the block billing practices went into affect, which can only add controversy to the block billing system.

Block billing is a system of averaging water (or other utility) usage, establishing guidelines, and billing according to an average of water consumption for residential and commercial enterprises. In Lubbock, block billing for water was proposed and adopted in 2006, and went into affect in April 2007. The block billing structure was built on an average from September 2006 through February 2007, but this is a time when consumption is lower than in the warmer summer months. Thus, consumers will be penalized for using normal amounts of water in the summer, because the average is faulty and does not take into consideration the warmer summer weather in Texas. Using a time that water consumption is lower may seem to be a way to ensure consumers conserve more water, but that has already been proved wrong, as the system was only in effect a little over two months when residents were placed on emergency water restrictions.

Recently, (June 19), water consumers in the Lubbock area were placed on a Stage Four water alert, which restricts the use of water for just about any outdoor activities in Lubbock. Before, watering was permitted twice a week, and the restrictions were far less restrictive. Now, hand watering is permitted, but the watering of lawns with any type of sprinklers, filling pools and hot tubs, and even washing cars in a driveway is prohibited. Thus, the water "conservation" measures that the block billing were supposed to provide are not enough, and the city is still on extremely strict water restrictions until further notice. The citizens will be paying higher water rates to use less water, and in effect are being penalized in their attempts to conserve water. One Lubbock reporter notes, "The rates punish fluctuation more than use: a business that has a high but stable water demand may not ever leave the base rate, while a smaller business that uses more water in different seasons can creep into higher price brackets" (Blackburn, 2007). This has left businesses and residents unable to know what to budget for their water usage, and the system has been overhauled so many times before it actually was implemented that many people are totally confused about the rates and what it will mean to them personally. Obviously, there is a huge problem with water availability, and other resources need to be studied, rather than simply implementing block billing as a method of water conservation that is already clearly not working effectively.

Water is a critical resource that is certain. One Web site notes, "The world's water consumption rate is doubling every 20 years, outpacing by two times the rate of population growth ("Desalination," 2007). However, the water shortage in Lubbock and other areas did not happen overnight, it has taken years of growth and lack of management for these shortages to occur. Now, other solutions must be sought to help alleviate the water crisis all over the nation. One solution that has been utilized in the Middle East, where water is a highly critical issue, is desalination. Initially, desalination processes have been extremely costly, both in set-up and delivery, and in energy costs to run the systems. However, many new innovations in desalination may see the costs come down, while energy usage is much more efficient. This water can be created from seawater, or brackish water, and it can be piped to areas that suffer from drought or… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Water Restrictions Block Billing.  (2007, June 22).  Retrieved May 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/water-restrictions-block-billing/2765947

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"Water Restrictions Block Billing."  22 June 2007.  Web.  21 May 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/water-restrictions-block-billing/2765947>.

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"Water Restrictions Block Billing."  Essaytown.com.  June 22, 2007.  Accessed May 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/water-restrictions-block-billing/2765947.