To achieve SDG 6, water and sanitation utilities must be financially sound. To increase their financial resources, utilities must both increase efficiency — do more with less — and find ways to increase their total cash inflows. In many countries operations and maintenance of combined systems are often funded solely by tariffs charged to sewerage customers, meaning that stormwater beneficiaries get a free ride — that they do not pay for the stormwater services they receive or the flooding that the impervious surfaces that they own help cause. Charging stormwater combined system beneficiaries create an additional cash-stream that would help cities to sustainably manage their combined systems — helping them to achieve their SDG 6 commitment.
Condominiums in the United States must maintain financial reserves to repair and replace their infrastructure. By adopting similar laws, water and sanitation utilities — especially those in low-income and low-middle-income countries which cannot handle the financial shock of unplanned major infrastructure repairs or replacements – could help to ensure sustainability of their services.
Old tariff designs – before the introduction of meters – used the number of physical water fixtures in a household to charge domestic customers for water services. The same technique could be used today to classify poor customers, who have fewer water fixtures, from wealthier customers, thus enabling water utilities to establish separate poor-customer-tariffs and thus charge wealthier customers the full cost of providing them with service.