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What 10 Years of Georgia Water Utility Data can Reveal

Co-author Neil Sullivan is a Rates Specialist at the Environmental Finance Center.

Since 2007, the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been conducting water and wastewater rate surveys in Georgia. With support from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority and other organizations[1], the EFC at UNC has collected a decade worth of rates data. Each year this data allows the us to create water and wastewater Rates Dashboards. This free tool helps utility staff analyze and weigh their current rates against different indicators to better inform future rate settings. Additionally, this data reveals important trends in how Georgia utilities manage their finances. Read on to see how the landscape of water and wastewater rates has transformed in the past decade:

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Environmental Infrastructure Programs under the Omnibus Budget Bill

On Friday, March 23, President Trump signed a $1.3 trillion FY 2018 spending bill that will fund the federal government through September 30.   This budget funds several environmental infrastructure programs that help communities pay for crucial services such as water and wastewater.  How did those infrastructure programs fare in the budget?

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The State of Water Debt in North Carolina, Part 1

Guest post by Maddie Atkins

Water and wastewater infrastructure needs in the US continue to grow. The EPA Drinking Water Needs Survey and Clean Watershed Needs Survey estimate that a combined $655 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure investment is needed nationwide over the next 20 years. In North Carolina over the next 20 years, estimates of water system capital costs range between $10 and $15 billion, and wastewater system needs range from $7 to $11 billion. As utilities raise capital to make infrastructure improvements, most turn to debt as an instrument to fund projects. As of the end of fiscal year 2017, local government utilities in North Carolina have $8.3 billion in outstanding water and wastewater debt.

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Exploring Public Fire Protection Charges in Wisconsin

In addition to Rates Dashboards, the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill regularly publishes tables of water rates and rate structures of various states. Last month, in addition to tables of water and wastewater rates, the EFC at UNC also published tables of public fire protection charges in Wisconsin as of January 2018. These data tables are one of several products created from data for water rates and rate structures of 575 water utilities throughout the state of Wisconsin. The data tables list each utility’s residential water rate structure details, monthly-equivalent bills computed at different consumption levels, and public fire protection charge information.

This post explores what fire protection charges are, how they are collected, and how system size plays a role.

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Four Federal Water Infrastructure Funding Programs to Watch

The White House’s Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America, which was released early this year, outlines the President’s proposed steps to encourage increased state, local, and private investment in infrastructure. And though you’ve probably heard a lot about it, chances are you haven’t had the time to read and reflect on the 55 page document. So what might the President’s plan mean for infrastructure in your community? While the plan outlines programs for infrastructure of all sectors, this post provides a quick overview of the four proposed programs with relevance to water infrastructure.

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