COVID-19 Conditions’ Financial Effects on 49 Small Water Systems in North Carolina

Written by Shadi Eskaf, Research Director, EFC at UNC Three months after the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly changed how Americans live and work, the financial implications for water systems are becoming apparent. Back in March, we forecasted some of these effects, but we couldn’t measure those changes at that time. As time passes, water systems are able to take stock on …

How Utilities in the Past have Saved Money during Economic Hardship: Similarities and Differences for COVID-19

Written by Erin Ansbro, Data Researcher, and Elsemarie Mullins, Project Director, at EFC at UNC Right now, water utilities are facing great uncertainty about the coming months and years. When will moratoria on water shut-offs end? When will water consumption be back to “normal”? Will utility staff get COVID-19? And the “Big One” — What will revenue loss be for …

Municipal Finance in a Pandemic: How is the Market Responding?

Written by Austin Thompson, Project Director, EFC at UNC Municipal Bonds & COVID-19: What is going on? Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, the municipal (“muni”) bond market was strong. Investors looking for a non-taxable rate of return were hungry for municipal bonds, driving interest rates down for borrowers (state and local governments) and pushing more debt …

Regionalization: Five Key Takeaways with Resources!

Written by Erin Riggs, Executive Director, EFC at University of North Carolina In the past few years, the EFC has been asked to evaluate the different financial impacts of regionalization, from simple shared services agreements to full-on consolidation. Additionally, we have been evaluating barriers to and opportunities for the creation of new and different governance models. We have identified some …

Water System Reserves During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by: Christian Lutz, Data Analyst, Environmental Finance Center at UNC Local governments have an increased public health responsibility to ensure that people have access to clean water during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, many utilities are refraining from shutting off customers’ water, despite unpaid bills. In more than a dozen states, mandates have even been put in place …

Communicating with Utility Staff During COVID-19

Written By: Leslie Kimble, Marketing Coordinator, Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center Thanks to the work of water operators, utility staff and water quality regulators across the country, communities in the United States rarely have to worry about their drinking water; a service that is, without a doubt, critical and essential. The reality of this global pandemic is that some …

Financial Implications of COVID-19 for Water and Wastewater Utilities

Written by: Shadi Eskaf, Research Director, EFC at UNC Water and wastewater utilities are adapting to the rapidly changing conditions imposed across the country and the world by the COVID-19 pandemic. With stay-at-home orders, closures of schools, restaurants, and other businesses, and major disruptions to the workforce and operations, utilities are changing practices and procedures every day to continue to …

“One Water” Approach for Improvement in Water Resource Management

Written by: Jennifer Egan, PG, PhD- University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center In most U.S. water systems, drinking, waste, and stormwater, are managed separately and each have their own costs to safely provide clean water for society. However, this traditional approach does not recognize the vital importance of fresh water as a finite resource with economic value in every form. …

Utilities Have a New Financing Option to Protect Drinking Water Sources

Written by: Martha Sheils. Sheils is the Director of the New England Environmental Finance Center. Martha passionately believes that land conservation around drinking water sources is the first and most important step toward ensuring safe drinking water supplies and a better quality of life. The principal mission of public water systems is to supply clean, safe drinking water to the public. …

Operating at a Deficit: Solutions to a Water and Wastewater Operator Shortage

Written by: Daniel Willems, Research Assistant, Environmental Finance Center at UNC Across the country, communities are dealing with a shortage of water and wastewater treatment plant operators. This shortage –  largely due to retirements occurring in an aging workforce – is leaving many municipalities in need of immediate replacements or short-term transition plans.  Without qualified individuals to ensure state and federal …