The price of a drink

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The amount of water used by people across the state daily is dropping, driven by an increasing concern about the environment and nudges from the government — even as the price of water keeps climbing rapidly.

Residents are using 10 gallons less per day on average, according to state numbers between 2006 and 2011, the most recent available—enough to fill two standard office water dispensers.

Water usage remains particularly high in some communities west of Boston, where big house lots, big homes, and wealthy residents abound.

And in local cities and towns, the average cost of water is climbing rapidly, sparked by costly repairs to crumbling infrastructure, which in some communities is more than a century old, and increased regulation.

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