Utah residents use the most water of any Western state. They also pay some of the lowest water rates.

September 20, 2021 (Salt Lake Tribune)

When you pay taxes on a home, business valuation or even an automobile in Utah, chances are some of that money is going to fund water infrastructure owned by municipal providers or wholesalers that sell water to cities. A 2019 report from the Utah Foundation concluded that 90% of Utahns live in a jurisdiction that collects property taxes for water.

The Washington County Water District, for instance, a water wholesaler and retailer that provides water to St. George, collected two-thirds of its revenue from property taxes and impact fees, according to a newsletter it put out in 2015. Only 22% of its revenue came from utility bills. Water wholesalers that are funded through property taxes often store, transport and treat water before selling it to municipalities at a reduced rate, which enables local water departments to charge less on utility bills.

In a summary of water district reports compiled by Utah Foundation, eliminating or reducing property taxes could remove all water operating costs for owners of undeveloped land while other users could see rates more than double, a sudden spike in costs that could be difficult for businesses and institutions to absorb.

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