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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.

Resources

2018 Stormwater Utility Survey

This 2018 stormwater utility survey was conducted online, in the United States, during May through July of 2018. The results are presented under the following six sections:

  • Section 1: Organization and Operations presents a general profile of the respondents including population, size and characteristics of service area.
  • Section 2: Planning presents insights into what utility managers perceive to be the most important industry issues and stormwater infrastructure investment drivers. This section also highlights utility governance, the types of permit requirements that utilities have to comply with and the planning activities utilities engage in to address stormwater management. In addition, a new question was added this year regarding public-related partnership agreements (Question 13).
  • Section 3: Finance and Accounting reviews stormwater utility revenues, expenditures, sources of funding, and the adequacy of stormwater funding to meet utility obligations.
  • Section 4: Stormwater Rate Structure and Billing presents the types of costs recovered through user fees, the fee methodology used in setting rates, the rate structures and billing practices, and the average monthly residential rate of each utility that participated in the survey. Information on the types of exemptions and discounts that utilities offer, and insights on legal challenges are also provided. Calculated bills reflect rates in effect as of June 1, 2018.
  • Section 5: Stormwater Credits and Incentives offers insights into the types of credits, criteria used in offering credits, and innovative credit programs.
  • Section 6: Public Information/Education assesses the methods of education and multi-media sources used in educating and in disseminating information.

EPA Fact Sheet: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

This fact sheet, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, describes the DWSRF program’s structure, including its water system and project eligibilities. It lists the multiple financial assistance mechanisms available to communities for their infrastructure and non-infrastructure water needs.

Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure: Information on Identified Needs, Planning for Future Conditions, and Coordination of Project Funding

The U.S. Government Accountability Office was asked to review federal programs that provide funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

This report describes (1) how federal agencies and selected states identify drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs; (2) how federal agencies have supported selected states’ planning for future conditions that may affect needs; and (3) the extent to which federal and state agencies have coordinated in
funding projects, and any challenges they faced.

Report: Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure: Information on Identified Needs, Planning for Future Conditions, and Coordination of Project Funding

Assessing the Affordability of Water and Sewer Utility Costs in New Jersey

This report, Assessing the Affordability of Water and Sewer Utility Costs in New Jersey, reviews various methods that have been or could be used to evaluate the household affordability of drinking water and sewer utility costs in New Jersey. It provides a preliminary assessment of household financial stress using these methods, based on recent household income levels and estimated utility costs (2017/2018 rates) for households using 60,000 gallons per year as a common demand level. The report makes preliminary findings on household affordability based on the analyses and provides policy recommendations and ideas for additional research. This Phase 1 report was developed to provide background information for use by the Jersey Water Works collaborative and policy makers in selecting a consensus method for affordability analysis that can be used to establish baseline data for New Jersey communities.

This report is an initial step toward measurement of progress regarding the Jersey Water Works goals by establishing baseline measures for the following:

  • Drinking water and sewer utility affordability for residential users.
  • Level of financial stress facing water utilities, based on the fiscal capacity of ratepayers

This report provides an initial assessment of affordability calculation methods, levels of household stress using a variety of affordability indicators, ideas for improving the analysis through additional research, and a discussion of policy implications for the development of affordability programs.

Take a Proactive Approach to Rehabilitate Aging Infrastructure

This case study from American Water Works Association’s OpFlow, Take a Proactive Approach to Rehabilitate Aging Infrastructure, observes Dedham, Massachusetts, a historic town which has implemented a comprehensive asset management and rehabilitation program to create a more efficient, less costly, and more predictable wastewater collection system.

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