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.
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)
The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure
Based on a 2016 assessment by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), this study estimates that the US needs to invest an additional $82 billion per year in water infrastructure at all levels of government over the next 10 years to meet projected capital needs.
Closing the investment gap would result in over $220 billion in total annual economic activity to the country.
For every $1 million invested in water infrastructure, it is estimated that upwards of 15 jobs are generated across the economy.
The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure (The Value of Water Campaign)
Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center: Strategic Activities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center has developed strategic goals for financing safe, sustainable and resilient water sector infrastructure and helping communities make informed decisions about water. The goals include:
– Research: Identify financial solutions for infrastructure needs
– Innovate: Provide expertise on national water infrastructure
– Advise: Provide financial advice and support
– Network: Build relationships with government partners and stakeholders
Drinking Water and Wastewater Utility Customer Assistance Programs
This report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes the types of assistance programs currently in use around the country and details each one’s benefits and costs. The examples show short-term or long-term reductions through a bill discount, flexible terms, lifeline rate, temporary assistance and water efficiency advantages.
2016 Strategic Directions: Water Industry Report
This report by environmental engineering firm Black & Veatch finds that traditional revenue streams are not enough to cover the cost of upgrading and maintaining our water systems and that consumers are often unaware of the true cost associated with safe and reliable systems. The report highlights ways to communicate more effectively with the customer, new and alternative financing options for water systems, and tools to close the financial gap.