Charges for Water and Access: What Explains the Differences Among West Virginian Municipalities?

Elham Erfanian, Alan R. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Examining both spatial and non-spatial econometric analyses with a dataset of 125 municipal water utilities, we investigate utility cost and community factors that explain variation in residential user charges and monthly access charges for water. The results of water charges model are consistent with the theory of water cost determination as water source, debt, and economies of size plus scale influence residential consumer charges for water. Both models (water charges and minimum monthly access) displayed positive spillover effects, although the only variable in either model with a significant indirect effect is water charges on minimum monthly access charges. Based upon model results, ground water use by utilities lowers water charges and is estimated to save residential customers in West Virginia over $3.6 million annually. West Virginia households typically pay far below the OECD standard of 3 to 5% of household income for municipal water, which may explain why socioeconomic factors do not influence minimum monthly charges for access.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1850017
JournalWater Economics and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
models. The authors take responsibility for any omissions or errors. This research was supported by the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station project WVA00636.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 World Scientific Publishing Company.


  • Residential water charges
  • municipal utilities
  • social equity
  • spatial econometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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