Several towns and cities in North Carolina promote water conservation by targeting customers' wallets, gradually charging high-consuming water customers more per gallon.
Rate structures are used by about 20 percent of the state's water systems, though others are now considering the strategy to help conservation amid the lingering drought.
Tiered water rates have been used for 10 years in Cary, and officials credit the program for reducing water consumption per person in the fast-growing yet water-rich Raleigh suburb.
Greensboro and other cities also have seen consumption drop since they adopted a tiered-rate system, and a similar system is in place for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities customers.
In Raleigh, Mayor Charles Meeker is floating the idea to the city council as the city faces its fourth drought in eight years.