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  • Chenhui Zhang

Water Affordability Map

Water Price on Map

The water price map displays the 2022 average water prices for each state, with data sourced from utility bills. Higher values on the map indicate correspondingly higher water prices (in US Dollars).

The map indicates that West Virginia has the highest average water price, while Vermont and Wisconsin have the lowest average water prices.

The interactive map offers several features, including zooming in and out, hovering over each state to reveal water prices, clicking on states for in-depth information, and modifying map layers by selecting the layer icon on the left. These layers include options like dark mode, street map, satellite map, and open topo map.

Water Price Rank on Map

The water price ranking is determined by the cost of water, with the top-ranked state having the highest water expenses.

Ranking water prices by state facilitates a more straightforward comparison with water quality because it aligns the scale of both indicators.

Water Quality Rank on Map

Water quality is influenced by numerous indicators, making it challenging to achieve a comprehensive evaluation. In response, US News has offered a comprehensive ranking for each state in the year 2022, simplifying the process of visualizing water quality, where the top-ranked state has the best water quality.

Water Affordability

Water affordability is comprehensively assessed by considering both price and quality. When a state has a combination of high water prices and low water quality, it indicates lower water affordability. To account for both variables, we introduce the water price/quality rank ratio. A ratio greater than 1 suggests that the state has relatively lower water prices and better water quality. Conversely, a ratio less than 1 indicates higher water prices coupled with worse water quality.

The tables below display top 10 states categorized by their high and low price/quality ratios respectively.


p/q > 1

State

Price Rank

Quality Rank

Price/Quality Ratio

Alabama

33

2

16.50

Hawaii

9

1

9.00

South Carolina

25

4

6.25

Georgia

36

7

5.14

Tennessee

14

3

4.67

Massachusetts

23

5

4.60

Mississippi

46

13

3.54

Ohio

39

12

3.25

Florida

25

8

3.13

North Carolina

48

16

3.00

p/q < 1

State

Price Rank

Quality Rank

Price/Quality Ratio

West Virginia

1

47

0.02

Oregon

3

39

0.08

Alaska

7

50

0.14

Connecticut

6

37

0.16

Washington

4

23

0.17

New Jersey

5

25

0.20

California

2

9

0.22

Wyoming

10

44

0.23

Arizona

9

32

0.28

Montana

19

48

0.40

Correlations between Water Price and Water Quality


Following a preliminary examination of the relationship between water price and water quality, a pertinent query arises: Is there a correlation between these two factors? To explore this correlation, we utilized the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (Spearman rho). The outcome reveals a lack of significant correlation. For a visual representation of this, we charted the price rank and quality rank of each state, incorporating a 45-degree reference line.

In the graph below, states situated above the 45-degree line are shaded in purple, while those below are shaded in teal. Iowa holds the same rank for both water price and quality, denoted by the green color. States in the bottom left corner of the graph exhibit a pattern of relatively high prices and good water quality. Among states with similar prices, those in teal generally feature superior water quality. Conversely, among states with similar water quality, teal-labeled states typically offer lower water prices. The purple-labeled states appear to present a less affordable water scenario.

Water Affordability on Map

Examining the spatial distribution of the p/q ratio reveals notable patterns in water affordability. In many western states, the p/q ratio is below 1, suggesting that water tends to be less affordable in these areas. In contrast, in some eastern states, the p/q ratio exceeds 1, indicating a higher level of affordability, often associated with relatively lower costs and improved water quality.

Enhancing overall water affordability necessitates a concerted effort to simultaneously enhance water quality and reduce water prices. These two facets are intrinsically linked, and addressing them in tandem can lead to more equitable access to clean and reasonably priced water resources.

By using the map, we can identify areas where there are specific issues related to water quality and pricing. This helps policymakers, water management authorities, and community groups target their efforts more effectively. It allows them to create strategies that are tailored to the unique challenges each state faces, ultimately making water more accessible and ensuring it meets high-quality standards. This way, we can protect the health and well-being of people all across the country.


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