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.
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)
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