GREENSBORO, N.C. -- There are things in life we want and there are things we need. Electricity for your home, that's a need. Cable to watch all your shows, that's a want. Water is a need and it's becoming more expensive.

A study done by Michigan State University found out that within 5 years, 30-percent of Americans won't be able to afford running water.

The study points to several reasons.  Old pipes are expensive to repair. Weather also plays a role. Some water systems can't handle strong storms adding to the cost of water treatment. But on the other side, drought is decreasing the amount of water in some areas.

According to this study, the average annual water bill in the United States is $1,600 or about $140 a month. That's much higher than the average in the Triad.

Winston-Salem's average bill is almost $44 month. Greensboro's is a bit lower.

Cities sell their water in units. Greensboro charges $1.96 for up to 3 units. The rate increases the more units you use. High Point charges $2.82 per unit. Raleigh is even higher at $2.47 per unit.

The researcher says the biggest reason for rate increases is fixing outdated water facilities. Greensboro and Winston-Salem both increased their bills last year.