Written by Ashley Bleggi
As far back as 1926, Arizona has been a leader in the ever evolving world of water reuse. With the release of the 2019 Arizona Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard, we want to take a look at the recent insights our surveys have uncovered, as well as the current state of reclaimed water legislation in Arizona.
Overall, about 15% of all the utilities we surveyed for 2019 provide reclaimed water. As discussed in the EFC’s 2017 Arizona Water & Wastewater Rates Report , reclaimed water is significantly cheaper to produce and sell in part due to low energy requirements. Investing in reclaimed water processes allows utilities to avoid the costs of transporting wastewater long distances to surface discharge points, or investing in costly groundwater recharge infrastructure. This trend of reclaimed rates low comparative cost continues into 2019 with the data below showing reclaimed water bills to be nearly four times cheaper than both water and irrigation charges at the same 7.5 kgal consumption level. Continue reading
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
At the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we strive to provide top-notch assistance to communities through training and applied research. But this training would not continue to be possible without educated and experienced environmental finance professionals. That’s why the EFC is dedicated to training the next generation of this industry’s leaders, in our offices and in the field. Continue reading
Access to clean and safe water does not come easily. While we may have mental images of people in distant parts of the world spending their whole day traveling to and from water sources and preparing it so that it is safe to consume, in the United States, we’ve come to expect clean and safe water at the turn of a tap. This water that flows freely from our faucet didn’t get there quickly, however. In order to provide safe and clean drinking water, systems collect water, treat it through various means, and disseminate it out through a complicated infrastructure system, so that it can show up in our household when we want it. Large urban water systems in the United States may have their own special challenges with consent orders and older infrastructure. But small water systems in the United States have special challenges owing to their size. There are probably more of these small water systems in this country than you realize.
Earlier this year, the EFC at UNC, in partnership with the Southwest Environmental Finance Center and other members of the Environmental Finance Center Network, started work on WaterCARE (Community Assistance for Resiliency and Excellence in Drinking Water and Wastewater). WaterCARE is a project funded by the EPA Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center to provide in-depth technical assistance to ten communities across the country who are facing water infrastructure challenges. While some of these challenges are significant, the communities chosen to participate in the WaterCARE project have shown strong commitment to increasing community sustainability by developing robust, innovative, and resilient strategies to meet long-term water needs. Each of the communities recognizes that clean drinking water and wastewater treatment are critical services that play an important role in protecting public health, environmental quality, and community development.
As we have gotten to know the communities better through initial meetings and conversations with key stakeholders, it has become clear that although each WaterCARE community is unique, these systems face many of the same challenges. Here are four common challenges of WaterCARE communities that we have encountered so far: