Water is a dif­fi­cult com­mod­i­ty. It is free, and yet cost­ly. It is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly a pri­vate good, and a pub­lic good. It helps cities flour­ish finan­cial­ly, but now it is their finan­cial bur­den. Almost nobody pays for the water per se. The cost of water is the cost of mak­ing it avail­able at the right time, in the right place, and with the right qual­i­ty.