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.
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.
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.