Earlier this year, Valor Water Analytics (Valor) was acquired by Xylem Inc., a $13B water technology company that services utility and commercial clients across 150 countries. While this is big news in its own right within the water industry, it’s especially exciting for the Environmental Finance Center: Valor Founder and CEO Dr. Christine Boyle previously worked as a research assistant at the EFC while pursuing her doctorate in water resource planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
While at the EFC, Dr. Boyle led a team on a multiyear study of water utility data analytics for the state’s Urban Water Consortium. Following her time at the EFC and postdoctoral work, Dr. Boyle moved to California where we she would found Valor and work with utilities worldwide to introduce technologies that drive efficiency and set a new bar for how utilities understand and utilize data.
We sat down with Dr. Boyle to talk about Valor, entrepreneurship, and—most importantly—the future of the industry. Read on for her answers and insight: Continue reading
Guest post by Kara Millonzi
This post was originally published to the School of Government’s Coates’ Canons Blog on June 26, 2018.
In the 2017 legislative session, the General Assembly specifically authorized all local government utility providers to charge upfront fees for water and wastewater services. The legislation, however, limited the types of upfront charges that could be assessed on new development within the unit’s territorial boundaries. A prior post summarized the new law and detailed the new procedural requirements for adopting upfront water or wastewater charges. This post details changes the legislature made to the law during the 2018 legislative session. These changes do not address all of the ambiguities in the SDF law but do clarify certain aspects of calculating, collecting, and administering the fees. Continue reading
Guest post by David Salvesen and Christian Kamrath
Hurricane Matthew, which struck North Carolina in October 2016, reminded us of just how vulnerable North Carolina is to flooding. Torrential rains caused severe flooding that breached levees, closed major roads and inundated entire communities. Thousands of homes in the eastern part of the state were destroyed. Continue reading
Guest post by Brian Dabson
The scale and complexity of the issues surrounding North Carolina’s manufactured homes stock was the subject of a previous blog post, Hidden in Plain Sight. Over 1.3 million people in the state live in 480,000 manufactured homes, making them a vital part of the affordable housing stock especially in rural counties. However, challenges associated with high utility bills, vulnerability to flooding and high winds, and deteriorating condition of older homes suggest an urgent need for action. That said, responsibility and capacity for action is spread across multiple agencies and individuals with little incentive for any concerted or coordinated effort.
The School of Government interviewed 40 stakeholders with connections with manufactured home building, installation, maintenance, financing, regulation, removal, resident representation, and housing policy. It was apparent that bringing these stakeholders together might be a productive way forward. So, in April 2018, the School convened a workshop which attracted 32 participants from 25 organizations—ranging from the North Carolina Manufactured & Modular Homebuilders Association to the North Carolina Justice Center, from the Roanoke Electric Cooperative to Habitat for Humanity NC, and from the NC Department of Insurance to the Choanoke Area Development Association—to consider possible strategies and action steps to meet the mobile homes challenge.
Today marks the end of the sixth annual National Infrastructure Week—a week of events, media coverage, and issue advocacy across the country to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting America’s future. In the world of environmental finance, however, every week is infrastructure week, with growing capital needs to replace aging assets acting as a major challenge in the drinking water and wastewater industry, among others.
To help wrap up this important week, we’ve curated a list of water infrastructure-focused posts from not only our own blog, but from blogs around the web as well: Continue reading