Category: General Information (Page 1 of 29)

Using the Revenueshed Model to Investigate Watershed Funding

What is a revenueshed?

A revenueshed is the geographic area within which revenue is generated for a defined purpose. It’s a play on words of watershed, an area that drains all water to a common outlet. The purpose of the revenueshed is to model methods of revenue generation for a designated funding goal using new and existing mechanisms. The revenueshed also expands those who pay beyond the traditional polluter pays model by incorporating additional beneficiaries into the model. For example, rather than using solely the boundary of a watershed to source funding for a water quality project, a wider boundary could be drawn to include local governments holding drinking water allocations for the specified water body[1].

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New State-Specific Resources on EFC Website

By: Erin Ansbro

New growth has sprung up at EFC! To make our many resources more accessible, we have added “Resources by State” pages for all fifty states. The new layout changes include a clickable map, state-specific information, and all available years of resources in one place.

From the home page, hover over the “Resources” Tab at the top and select “Resources by State” from the dropdown menu that appears. This will bring you to the interactive map where you can then pick the resources you want to view by state. Continue reading

How are North Carolina Utilities Faring During the Pandemic? Four Key Insights from Survey Results

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, utilities across the nation continue to adapt to rapidly changing conditions through a number of measures, from suspending water shut-offs to implementing cost-saving maneuvers like reducing energy costs.

To better understand some of the financial implications of the pandemic, the Environmental Finance Center surveyed 93 water and wastewater utilities in North Carolina in early May on a range of topics, including payment plans for delinquent customers, how long they can pay all operating and capital expenses, changes in total revenue collected, staffing for utility operations, plans for the next fiscal year’s rates, and the scope, funding, or timing of capital infrastructure projects for the year.

Four key insights from the survey are detailed below. Each finding is coupled with graphs showing the response distribution for the survey question connected to the key finding. Continue reading

How Utilities in the Past have Saved Money during Economic Hardship: Similarities and Differences for COVID-19

Co-written by Erin Ansbro

Right now, water utilities are facing great uncertainty about the coming months and years. When will moratoria on water shut-offs end? When will water consumption be back to “normal”? Will utility staff get COVID-19? And the “Big One” — What will revenue loss be for utilities in the coming months and years? While answers to these questions remain unknown during these unprecedented times, guidance from the past can help utilities think through strategies that may save them money now and in the future. Here, we distill information from a previous EFC report about approaches utilities took in response to the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and discuss how the findings relate to circumstances under COVID-19 conditions.

The report, written in partnership with the Water Research Foundation, comes from ideas discussed during a two-day forum with 17 CEOs of utilities which serve between 78,000 to 19 million customers. During the forum, leaders “discussed how they acted to mitigate the recession’s impact and adapt to a changed financial and economic environment” (p. xi). Although these approaches were used by large utilities, some may be appropriate for smaller utilities. These approaches are starting points for consideration, but are NOT intended to be a specific road map or a recipe for success. In addition to the overarching themes and summary, the report lists some future research needs and then gives details on the 48 strategies implemented by the forum participants. Continue reading

Four Considerations Before Investing in Advanced Metering Infrastructure

Keondra Jenkins was a fellow in the 2019 Leaders in Environment and Finance (LEAF) program. As part of the LEAF Fellowship, Keondra worked with Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) over the summer of 2019. Keondra graduated in December 2019 from UNC with a degree in Environmental Studies.

What is AMI?

Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is a technology that allows for automated, two-way communication between a water meter and your utility company. AMI provides real-time data about water consumption daily or upon request, using a fixed communication network to send and receive signals from meters remotely. Implementing AMI can improve a utility’s ability to detect leaks, bill more accurately, and engage with customers. When undertaking an AMI project, there are many factors to consider. Here we will discuss strategies to pay for the project, select a vendor, implement the new infrastructure, and consider data management options. Continue reading

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