Stormwater and the pollution it spreads is becoming a major issue, especially in cities where it is the most difficult to control runoff. The greater amount of impermeable surface in cities prevents rainwater and snowmelt from penetrating the surface. Instead, the rainwater and snowmelt becomes runoff along our streets. Managing stormwater, and the pollution it carries, is a crucial part of protecting both residents and the infrastructure of a city. Green infrastructure is one way that cities can achieve this goal.
Unlike your favorite TV show, college football, or even your cell phone, water is a truly vital part of life. However, many Americans may still not have affordable access to this necessity. The question of whether or not water is “affordable” in some communities is an ongoing debate. State laws, aging infrastructure, lack of funding, and many other challenges can limit a utility’s ability to address affordability concerns. However, some states have provided a framework for utilities in their state to address the challenges utilities face to provide affordable access to water for all. Customer Assistance programs (CAPs) are utility-sponsored programs that help provide low-income customers with affordable access to water through various discounts or other cost reduction methods. California, West Virginia, and Washington, discussed in detail below, currently have laws in place that enable water utilities to create CAPs.