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.
Informing, Improving, and Expanding Water Quality and Financing through Advanced Data Management
Over the past three decades, billions of federal, state, and local dollars have been deployed to support water infrastructure projects and other programs that reduce point and nonpoint sources of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center examined the trends that emerged in terms of project characteristics that drive successful outcomes and identified gaps in how funders collect evaluation data. After analyzing 699 projects across two major Bay-wide funders, the EFC provided recommendations for improving the impact of grant-funded programs and projects. Specifically, the EFC recommended that funders establish a process to better coordinate data collection efforts in order to assess and improve future program evaluation and regional investment. The complete findings and recommendations are detailed in the report.
MS4 Stormwater Permitting Guide
The MS4 Stormwater Permitting Guide is a tool for utility and stormwater professionals either navigating the permitting process for the first time or the expert looking to answer advanced MS4-related questions.
The Guide tackles timely and relevant stormwater issues such as permit terms, the Maximum Extent Practical (MEP) standard versus water-quality standards, water quality trading in the context of stormwater, post-construction needs, and more.
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.