Link to publication Installation of dedicated meters for residential irrigation systems, often called irrigation meters, can lead to unintentional consequences that may thwart a utility’s intended purpose in promoting such meters. This article explores some of the financial and water use implications of separately metering and billing residential irrigation water under existing utility practices. The authors analyzed data on irrigation pricing and practices from 12 North Carolina utilities to draw generalizable observations about the effects of irrigation metering on customer expenditures and the inherent incentives on customer demand for irrigation meters and potential consequences on water use. This research found that water providers attempting to encourage water conservation by installing irrigation meters may be inadvertently providing incentives to increase irrigation water use. As they consider setting strategies and rates for their own irrigation-metering initiatives, utility managers can use the lessons learned here to better integrate their water conservation policies with utility finances.
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