Tackling water losses through improved domestic water bills

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The domestic water bills that municipalities send out to consumers on a monthly basis are a key interface between local government and citizens. Being a legal instrument, as well as a communication medium, the consumers' level of understanding of their water bills and the confidence in the information provided is therefore indicative of their effectiveness. A lack of understanding of bills impacts negatively on customer awareness, billability, participation and the regulation of water services. It also leads to distrust in the integrity or correctness of bills, which, in turn, impacts negatively on consumers‟ willingness to pay.

The paper reports the findings of a study to develop certain standards or guidelines for domestic water bills, which was funded by the South African Water Research Commission (WRC). The study will give effect to municipalities to optimise their domestic bills for accessibility, individual needs and impacting on consumer behaviour regarding payment and efficient water use. Further, the output will assist in improving users' understanding and confidence in municipal bills, as well as the regulation of water services and managing water usage.

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