Water Efficiency Via the Tap Fee

While water rates and pricing can send a signal to encourage ongoing conservation after a home or business is established, tap fees, or impact fees, which developers pay for establishing water service when constructing new buildings, can be leveraged at the front-end of new development as an incentive for water-efficient building and landscape design. The small community of Fountain, Colorado, south of Colorado Springs, is at the cutting edge of employing this strategy. This article looks at Fountain’s tap fee structure and results. It was originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of Headwaters magazine. If accepted for the APA publication, the article could be updated to report on results measured after the original article was published. One other addition would be to make note of a report released in August 2015 by Western Resource Advocates, “Water Connection Charges: A Tool for Encouraging Water-Efficient Growth.”

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