Category: Drinking Water & Wastewater (page 1 of 36)

Catawba County’s Innovative Water Service Partnership Model

It seems like almost everyone, including regulators and utility organizations, recognize the benefits and need for expanded partnerships and collaboration in the water and wastewater sector. Small towns are finding it difficult to meet their growing infrastructure and regulatory needs and are talking with each other and their larger neighbors about different regional service models.

Partnerships are not limited to small systems; the cost of new water and wastewater supply is so great, that even large, financially healthy systems are increasingly working together to share costs and partner on  large facilities. Most of these partnerships involve two or more utilities working together, but in at least one North Carolina county, one of the key partners in many of the region’s recent water partnerships is a local government that is not a direct utility service provider.  For more than 20 years, Catawba County has assisted many of the municipalities in the county to install high impact water and wastewater projects without ever sending out a single water or wastewater bill to a retail customer. Continue reading

Top Five Small Town Websites and Tips to Improve Your Own

For many small towns, websites are the main avenue of communication with residents. At the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we use town websites to find contact information, water rates, and link towns around the United States to our resources, such as our water rates dashboards. The North Carolina Water Rates Dashboard is one of our most visited pages, and nearly three percent of the dashboard’s visitors in the past year have been directed here through the website of the town of Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Wilkesboro’s website is user-friendly and informative, making it a great resource for residents and visitors alike. Residents often rely on town websites for communication, public information, and access to helpful tools like our Rates Dashboards. Continue reading

A Return to Growing Capital Outlays on Water and Wastewater Infrastructure?

The year 2010 marked the start of an unusual period in the water sector. For five years running, total capital outlays by local governments in the United States on water and wastewater infrastructure declined year after year. This period coincides with the Great Recession and towards the end of spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Yet infrastructure continued to age, and construction costs continued to rise at about 2.6 percent per year during that period. Have we finally come across a sign that capital expenditures on water and wastewater infrastructure may be growing again?

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Podcast Round-Up: 12 Episodes on Drinking Water Finance and Management

My colleague Stacey Isaac Berahzer, a senior project director here at the Environmental Finance Center, made her podcast debut this week on The Water Values Podcasta series specifically focused on drinking water finance and management.  The Water Values is one of several podcast series that feature content on the drinking water sector.

For those who don’t know, a podcast is an audio file available for download to your computer or mobile device.  Podcasts typically take the form of interviews or stories, and it is a relatively new way to disseminate information about important drinking water topics.  Episodes can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as an hour, and they are a good format to explore issues in greater depth.

Some podcast series focus exclusively on drinking water topics, whilst others are focused more broadly on government, environment, or finance topics, and occasionally feature episodes on drinking water.

The following is a collection of 12 informative podcast episodes related to drinking water finance and management, ordered by air date: Continue reading

Four Ways Water Utilities Can Weather a Hurricane

Millions of United States citizens continue to battle the effects of massive hurricanes this month. Many have lost electric and water service. As water and wastewater utilities struggle to get their systems up and running again, some are in a better position than others. What makes a utility more resilient in the face of this type of natural disaster?

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