The Perils of Comparing Water Rates

Written by: Glenn Barnes The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducts surveys of water and sewer rates in many states across the country and turns those results into rates dashboards.  In recent years, at least three news outlets in Arizona, Illinois, and North Carolina have used data from these surveys in their stories showing that neighboring water systems …

The Nation’s Workforce Related to Water

Written by Glenn Barnes Some of our workshops for small drinking water systems cover the topic of workforce planning—how do we keep our best employees, and how do we find more great employees to bring on board?  As part of the day, we ask all participants to share how they got into the water business, and we hear a variety of stories.  …

Can Households Afford Water and Wastewater Bills When Faced with Unexpected Expenses?

At the Environmental Finance Center, we think a lot about the affordability of environmental services such as drinking water and wastewater.  Historically, many systems have measured affordability by looking at the cost of service compared to a community’s median household income (MHI), though this measure is limited.  A better way to measure affordability is to look at the cost of service over a range of income …

Podcast Round-Up: 12 Episodes on Drinking Water Finance and Management

Written by: Glenn Barnes Glenn Barnes is the Associate Director at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 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 …

Key Financial Benchmarks for Water Systems: Conservation Signal

Written by: Glenn Barnes Glenn Barnes is a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  At our workshops and through our discussions with water systems during technical assistance work, many water systems, in particular small systems, ask what seems like a simple question: “Are our rates right?” I suspect our initial answer …

Key Financial Indicators for Water and Wastewater Systems: Current Ratio

Written by: Glenn Barnes Glenn Barnes is a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina.  In previous posts, we outlined how to use the financial statements of a water or wastewater system to calculate the key financial indicators of operating ratio (a measure of self-sufficiency), debt service coverage ratio(a measure of a system’s ability to pay …

Key Financial Indicators for Water and Wastewater Systems: Days of Cash on Hand

Written by: Glenn Barnes Glenn Barnes is a Senior Project Director with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina.  In previous posts, we outlined how to use the financial statements of a water or wastewater system to calculate the key financial indicators of operating ratio (a measure of self-sufficiency) and debt service coverage ratio (a measure of a system’s ability …