My colleague Stacey Isaac Berahzer, a senior project director here at the Environmental Finance Center, made her podcast debut this week on The Water Values Podcast, a series specifically focused on drinking water finance and management. The Water Values is one of several podcast series that feature content on the drinking water sector.
For those who don’t know, a podcast is an audio file available for download to your computer or mobile device. Podcasts typically take the form of interviews or stories, and it is a relatively new way to disseminate information about important drinking water topics. Episodes can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as an hour, and they are a good format to explore issues in greater depth.
Some podcast series focus exclusively on drinking water topics, whilst others are focused more broadly on government, environment, or finance topics, and occasionally feature episodes on drinking water.
The following is a collection of 12 informative podcast episodes related to drinking water finance and management, ordered by air date: Continue reading
Attention all North Carolinian water and wastewater systems: the State Water Infrastructure Authority announced that $168.5 million in water and wastewater funding will be available this upcoming fall.
In response to this announcement, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality: Division of Water Infrastructure held application-training workshops across the state of North Carolina in August. Here are some tips and takeaways learned from the training.
Constructing, maintaining, and upgrading water infrastructure entails large costs for local governments that can end up impacting budgets for years. The long lifespan of these projects often require development to be based on needs projected decades into the future, leaving significant excess capacity that must be paid for, but not used, in the interim.
Communities looking to help cut costs and reduce risk may be able to capitalize on this excess capacity by partnering with their neighbors via interlocal agreements to share infrastructure. These agreements can take many forms – joint ownership, interruptible purchase agreements, the formation of new semi-governmental entities – but their ultimate function is to spread the costs of unused capacity across a broader base of users, making them easier to finance. In order to develop equitable cost sharing agreements, interlocal agreements often rely on estimates of growth to determine who will use capacity in the future. It can be difficult to make longterm projections, and when the assumptions that form the foundation for an interlocal agreement turn out to be incorrect, one or more partners could be stuck with unanticipated liabilities.
This implicit risk could be a disincentive for communities to enter into interlocal agreements. As with any risk, managing it requires understanding it as much as possible. This is the first in a series of posts that examines how the allocation of unused capacity distributes risk among the partners in different types of interlocal agreements. Here we look at two examples of how unused capacity is paid for when infrastructure is shared through capacity allocations.
Figure 1 Cover of “WRRDA Highlights” Publication (Source: http://transportation.house.gov/wrrda/)
As the federal government considered introducing a new program, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA), for funding water infrastructure projects, some opponents saw the new program as unnecessary. The protest was not centered on a lack of need of financing for water infrastructure. Indeed, the estimated range of need from $122 billion to $3.6 trillion is large enough to warrant action whether you subscribe to the lower end or the higher end of the range! Instead, some saw the existing State Revolving Fund (SRF) program as the most viable vehicle for delivering more financing. Why create a new program when one already exists? At the same time, critics of the existing SRF program pointed to the fact that it was not broad and flexible enough, and had not been significantly updated since 1987. In a surprising turn of events, a bipartisan team of lawmakers addressed both sets of concern in one fell swoop. Continue reading