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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Measure for Measure: Water Submetering and Allocation in Multifamily Housing in Austin, Texas
Daniel Strub
REPORT 2000 ST89 Public Affairs Library

The multifamily housing market in Austin is undergoing a rapid shift from including the cost of water in tenantsą rents to charging them separately for water. Two methods are used to calculate the amount of water for which tenants are charged: submetering and allocation. Under submetering, tenants are billed only for the water that they use; under allocation, the water bill is calculated using an arbitrary formula. While studies have shown that submetering leads to lower water consumption, there have been no statistically valid studies showing allocation conserves water. Additionally, it is more equitable to charge for true consumption. The TNRCC is currently rewriting the rules governing submetering and allocation, and should make every effort to encourage submetering and discourage allocation, promoting equity in billing and water conservation.


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