One possibility to encourage water conservation is to charge “heavy “water users a higher rate. The definition of “heavy” varies, from seven thousand gallons a month, to 30K. The goal is to provide affordable water for basic drinking, washing, and cleaning necessities, but to discourage wasteful water use on landscaping and letting faucets drip and run. In order to stay under the limit, people may be motivated to install low-flow shower heads, low-flush toilets, and take other conservation measures such as xeriscaping (using native drought-resistant plants). People can still maintain their water-lavish lifestyle if they are willing to pay for it.
Many cities charge a small increase in rate above a certain number of gallons, but this difference is usually negligible, and does not promote conservation. Indeed, many cities indicate that they need people to use a lot of water in order to maintain government income.
Some cities are increasing water rates sharply for all residents if a water emergency has to be declared. This means that everyone has an interest in pulling together to make sure enough water is on hand to prevent an “emergency” state.