20/10/2017 – News / Global Water Intelligence / GWI / Water / Mexico City / Mexico
Mexico City is the world’s least affordable capital for drinking water, reveals index
The results of the 2017 Global Water Tariff Survey’s Affordability Index – published last month by Global Water Intelligence (GWI) and the Global Water Leaders Group (GWLG) – reveal that Mexico City residents spend more of their household income on water bills than do citizens of any other capital city in the world. Ankara, Warsaw and Beijing were also among the world’s least affordable cities for drinking water.
The Index examined the affordability of water tariffs across 20 major capital cities from around the world, and which components among household income, water consumption and water price, are responsible for it. The ‘Affordability Index’ is measured as the percentage of household income that goes towards paying the water bill.
Citizens of Mexico’s capital fork out round 3.71 per cent of their household income on water bills – well above the 3-per-cent affordability threshold advised by the UNDP.
The Index found that cities where water tariffs are less affordable have, on average, larger levels of water consumption per capita, and lower average household incomes than more affordable cities. Water consumption levels in Mexico City are currently at more than 300 litres per capita per day.
The results suggest that excessive water consumption, in relation to water prices and household income, is testing water affordability limits in middle-income cities.
A reduction in water consumption to 15 cubic metres per month, for example, would decrease the percentage of household income that an average Mexican household would spend of their water bill to 0.91 per cent – well below the 3-per-cent UNDP affordability threshold.
Ankara, Warsaw and Beijing were also found to be some of the least affordable cities in the Index, with the pressure on affordability in those locations also driven by high average water consumption in contrast to a low household income.
Water consumption – the highs and lows
The Index found that water consumption in the top four cities averages out at 22 cubic metres per month (m3/month) – well above the average of 15 m3/month found across all the Index cities. Meanwhile average household income rests at US$13,700, in contrast with US$61,000 among the most affordable cities.
The Index results also showed that residents in cities such as Paris can easily accommodate an increase in tariffs because of the high household incomes, while lower incomes in Lisbon, Madrid and Rome mean residents have less room for tariff growth.
High average household incomes in Washington DC also kept spending on water bills below the 3-per-cent affordability threshold, despite high levels of water consumption by residents in the US capital recorded by the Index.
Meanwhile, Copenhagen’s high water tariffs are affordable because water consumption per capita is so low – the government is expecting to reach consumption levels of 100 litres per capita per day in 2017.
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