Author: Erin Riggs (page 1 of 2)

The New Kid on the Block: Carrboro’s Stormwater Management Utility

How Carrboro’s creation of a Stormwater Management Utility exemplifies the increasing need for stormwater finance options.

Effective July 1, 2017, the Town of Carrboro followed in the footsteps of local governments across North Carolina, such as the City of Hendersonville, by creating its first Stormwater Management Utility. According to the Staff Report, Carrboro has experienced an increase in severe storms affecting its area, as well as an increase in state and federal requirements for better and more intensive stormwater management, creating an increasing finance conundrum. Both the Town’s current National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Phase II permit, and North Carolina’s Jordan Lake rules require that the Town meet certain water quality criteria. Based on recent studies conducted by the Town, it is estimated that it will cost Carrboro, a town with a population of just over 21,000 residents, roughly $4 million over the next decade to comply with the requirements of the Jordan Lake rules. Continue reading

Clean Water Access Challenges in the United States

Water and sanitation access challenges are often thought of in the extremeslack of a clean water source in a village or community or lack of indoor plumbing in homes. But the reality is that many individuals living in or around some of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the United States, with some of the most sophisticated drinking water and wastewater systems and infrastructure, suffer from significant access challenges as well.

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The Gray Area in Funding Affordability Programs

Why Water or Wastewater Utilities in Many States May Be Apprehensive to Fund Affordability Programs with Rate Revenue

One of the reports recently completed at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel provides an analysis of the legal and policy environment surrounding rate-setting for water and wastewater utilities in all fifty states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The report, Navigating Legal Pathways to Rate-Funded Customer Assistance Programs, attempts to answer the question of whether, state by state, water and wastewater utilities can implement assistance programs for low-income customers, where these programs are funded with rate revenue. However, after researching and drafting the summaries for each state, the black and white answers we were looking for, have turned out to be in fact, mostly gray. That is, in most states, there is not a clearly defined path that water and wastewater utilities can follow to legally fund affordability programs with rate revenue. Thus, despite the importance of ensuring affordable water for all, there are many utilities which don’t have these types of cross-subsidized affordability programs, perhaps, in part, due to this legal uncertainty. So why are some states black and white, while others remain gray?

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How Two Private Water Companies are Changing New York Water Affordability

The New York Public Service Commission entered an Order Adopting Low Income Modifications in May 2016, which applied to commission-regulated gas and electric utilities in New York. The Commission established within the Order a robust regulatory policy framework for addressing low-income electric and gas customer needs. Despite this major advancement in addressing affordability issues for regulated energy utilities, private water utilities in New York have yet to implement large-scale, low-income water customer assistance programs (CAPs)—but this appears to be changing.

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Challenges in Financing Distributed Infrastructure

Why state and local governments should review statutes governing financing of infrastructure projects and add explicit language to include conservation measures

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