Australia may have a way to help solve the world's drought problem: Charge homeowners for each flush of a toilet.
While the final solution may not be that simple, economic and water officials in Australia are promoting a plan there that would charge homeowners based on waste water output. Currently, sewage charges are based on a home's value.
"Some people may go so far as not flushing their toilet as often because the less sewage you produce, the less sewage rate you pay," Young said.
I live in California, where water is a precious commodity and where even during a week of rain, people are talking about the upcoming drought. Water tips are nothing new, but paying for your outgoing sewage is.
The thing I don't understand is how someone could be charged twice for using water -- even if the water is dirtied. I already pay for bringing clean water into my house. This program -- and yes, I know I don't live in Australia -- would mean I'd also be paying for sending the water out as sewage. I already get a water bill, and my sewage fee is part of my annual property tax bill. Another bill for how much sewage I send out seems extreme; and there isn't a meter on my sewage pipe -- at least not yet.
According to Young, Australians would pay for it as they used it and would also pay a small fixed annual fee to cover the cost of meter readings and pipeline maintenance.
Young said that such a system already exists elsewhere, in Bellaire, Texas, a suburb of Houston.
An area in Florida charges for water and sewer usage, at $4.99 for 1,000 gallons of residential sewage.
Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.AaronCrowe.net