Effective and Financially Sustainable Systems
The water infrastructure most in need of upgrading happens to be in New Jersey’s oldest cities — which are in many cases the most distressed places in the state. They have high rates of poverty and disinvestment, meaning the resources available to pay for these upgrades are extremely limited.
But even in New Jersey’s suburbs, the pipes that carry drinking water and collect sewage and stormwater are aging and in need of costly upgrades and repair. Too often, out of sight has meant out of mind when it comes to maintenance.
Jersey Water Works is helping to identify practical and innovative financing practices to help these places complete the necessary upgrades. Upgraded water systems provide a basis for greater economic growth, so the financing mechanisms represent an investment in our cities’ future.
Asset Management Definitions Guidebook
The Asset Management Definitions Guidebook defines terms commonly used in water utility Asset Management practice. American Water Works Association’s Asset Management Committee developed it to help improve learning, consistency, and communication in the water industry. The Committee encourages professionals throughout the industry to use the guidebook, and expects the terminology in products that the Committee sponsors (e.g., publications and presentations) to be consistent with it.
As Asset Management practice in the water industry matures, its terminology is likely to change. Thus, the Committee plans to revise this guidance periodically to reflect changes, and invites people that use the document to send the Committee comments on how it can be improved.
Developing a New Framework for Community Affordability of Clean Water Services
The Senate Appropriations Committee directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to contract with the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct an independent study to create a definition of, and framework for, community affordability of clean water. The findings and recommendations of this report aim to supplement current actions and to assist EPA in providing continued valuable guidance and support to communities as they pursue clean, affordable water for their citizens.
Upgrading Our Systems: A National Overview of State-Level Funding for Water Initiatives
Local and regional water utilities play the lead role in water infrastructure funding by leveraging user rates. In addition, state and local governments typically rely on financing mechanisms like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State Revolving Fund programs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development funds. Meanwhile, some states have created programs that raise new revenue for direct funding to fix systemic gaps in infrastructure. In light of these efforts, Jersey Water Works has released a new report: Upgrading Our Systems: A National Overview of State-Level Funding for Water Initiatives, which assesses the landscape of such initiatives on sustainable water infrastructure.
Navigating Legal Pathways to Rate-Funded Customer Assistance Programs: A Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities
The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill prepared this report to help steer their members through a complex regulatory landscape. In their efforts to design and implement programs that make it easier for low-income customers to pay for water and wastewater services, utilities must navigate a confusing and often ambiguous legal framework that varies considerably from state to state. Many states impose different rules and regulations on different types of utilities—water versus wastewater, government-owned versus private ownership—such that some utilities are able to design programs in a way that other types of utilities are not. This report seeks to elucidate regulatory policy on the design and funding of consumer assistant programs (CAPs) in each state. It also includes a potential roadmap for utilities interested in establishing more ambitious CAPs.
An Equitable Water Future
This national briefing paper from US Water Alliance examines the connections between water management and vulnerable communities in the United States. The overall high quality of water systems in America obscures the fact that water challenges are a daily reality for some communities. All people need access to the basics — water, food, shelter — in order to participate fully in society. Water systems that do not deliver clean, affordable water to all people can exacerbate inequality and undermine our nation’s future prosperity. The report identifies the ways in which water issues like affordability and aging infrastructure affect vulnerable communities disproportionately, and highlights the potential to leverage water systems to bring about greater opportunity for all.
An Equitable Water Future (US Water Alliance)