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Handout: Water Infrastructure Drives New Jersey’s Economy

In order to lay the groundwork for wide-scale transformation of New Jersey’s water infrastructure systems, members of the Jersey Water Works collaborative have prioritized educating the public and elected and appointed officials on the importance of taking care of water infrastructure. This booklet is a tool for doing so and Jersey Water Works encourages all to make this economic case to their local and state elected and appointed officials today.

Water Infrastructure Drives New Jersey’s Economy

Assessment of Eliminating Lead in Minnesota Drinking Water

 The 2017 Minnesota Legislature directed the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to “conduct an analysis to determine the scope of the lead problem in Minnesota’s water and the cost to eliminate lead exposure in drinking water.” In this report, Assessment of Eliminating Lead in Minnesota Drinking Water, MDH assesses the scope of the lead problem by examining the extent of lead already in water systems as well as factors that allow lead to get in drinking water. However, because drinking water systems across the state are diverse and have varying requirements and resource needs, broad estimates are used to gauge costs.

Lead in Minnesota Water: Assessment of Eliminating Lead in Minnesota Drinking Water

Policy Options: Promoting Affordability of Public Water and Sewer Service for Low-Income Households in New Jersey

This discussion paper presents policy options for improving affordability of water and wastewater service for lower income residents in New Jersey—for the benefit not only of those customers, but of all New Jerseyans who depend on their local utilities for clean, safe, and reliable water and sewer service. Jersey Water Works aims to use it to spark discussion among state and local policy makers, utility managers, water and sewer customers, community organizations, and other public sector, private sector, and non-profit stakeholders, and to use it as a basis for further analysis and development of priority recommendations. The paper is based on a review of existing literature from around the country; research on existing New Jersey laws and programs; and interviews with leaders representing or associated with a wide range of stakeholders, including publicly and privately owned utilities, state regulators, affordable housing developers and advocates, consumer advocates, environmental justice advocates, business, and labor.

Promoting Affordability of Public Water and Sewer Service for Low-Income Households in New Jersey: Policy Options

“A major deterrent to proper investment in water infrastructure is affordability . . . Municipalities with a larger share of low-income residents find it difficult to raise rates to fund water infrastructure upgrades due to the detrimental effect higher rates will have on those residents. The result is underinvestment, which is a losing proposition . . . However, while increasing rates can adversely affect low-income households, as several witnesses noted, these effects are not inevitable and can be avoided . . .” —New Jersey Legislature, Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure, Final Report (Jan. 2018)

Rates could fund lead pipe replacement in critical states: Laws in states with the most lead service lines support the practice

In Rates could fund lead pipe replacement in critical states, Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School and Environmental Defense Fund reviewed state laws and policies in 13 states with the most lead service lines (LSLs), and found no explicit barriers to using rate funds to replace the lines on private property. These states have an estimated 4.2 million LSLs, more than two-thirds of the nation’s total. In these states, publicly-owned utilities can act pursuant to existing state legislation by determining that the practice serves a public purpose—protecting public health. Investor-owned utilities can do the same, but typically need approval of the state’s utility commission. While we have not reviewed the remaining states, we anticipate that the state laws and policies are similar to the ones we evaluated.

Rates could fund lead pipe replacement in critical states: Laws in states with the most lead service lines support the practice

State Policymakers’ Toolkit

To spotlight the important role that state governments can play in advancing sustainable water management, US Water Alliance and the Council of State Governments developed this State Policymaker’s Toolkit as a resource for elected officials and staff in the executive and legislative branches of state government. For each of the Seven Big Ideas (below), they briefly summarize the key issues and then provide real world examples of how states are forging progress. The promising examples are not meant to be prescriptive, but rather serve as a starting place for the generation of potential solutions that are specific to individual state contexts. For research purposes, these examples include endnote citations back to the legislative or regulatory language that was passed and/or implemented.

Seven Big Ideas:

  1. Advance regional collaboration on water management
  2. Accelerate agriculture-utility partnerships to improve water quality
  3. Sustain adequate funding for water infrastructure
  4. Blend public and private expertise and investment to address water infrastructure needs
  5. Redefine affordability for the 21st century
  6. Reduce lead risks, and embrace the mission of protecting public health
  7. Accelerate technology adoption to build efficiency and improve water service

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