During the past 10 years, utility costs have risen consistently across all forms of utility services. But, the most critical one with the steepest climb has been water. With increased population growth, scarcity of fresh water, and rising costs of replacing sewer infrastructure, owners are increasingly forced to bill their residents for some portion or water and sewer costs. Factors that increase water costs include compliance with drinking water standards, replacing and improving the water delivery structure, and meeting demand growth. For some water systems, the loss of subsidies and the need to begin pricing water more accurately to reflect costs can account for substantial, but necessary, rate increases. Rising costs and prices for water may force a change in consumer expenditure patterns. The cost of compliance with drinking water standards is only one of several factors contributing to rising water prices. Water prices send customers a crucial signal about the value of quality water service. However, for some communities, higher prices may strain water system and household budgets. Affordability is a function both of the price of water service and the ability of households (and other water users) to pay for this service. Thus, drinking water can be made more affordable by reducing the cost of service, increasing the ability of users to pay, or both.