Strengthening Utilities Through Consolidation: The Financial Impact

Written by: Erin Riggs and Jeff Hughes Click here to download the report A synthesis of the financial implications of consolidating water utilities based on the experience of eight communities. The US Water Alliance and the UNC Environmental Finance Center are committed to advancing fact-based, common-ground solutions to our nation’s most pressing water challenges. Currently, the water sector is extremely …

RDOs: Supporting Water Infrastructure and Improving Quality of Life

Written by Brett Schwartz, Associate Director, NADO Research Foundation This blog post is a condensed version of a more detailed article, available here. Every day, regional development organizations (RDOs) are working to improve the lives of residents in communities across the country.  Known locally as councils of governments, regional planning commissions, economic development districts, and other names, RDOs provide various …

This Week in Water Affordability News (and Perspectives)

Written by Jeffrey Hughes, Director of the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Interested in the challenge of protecting public and environmental health without losing sight of the burden those goals may place on some segments of our society?  The affordability challenge sits at the intersection of efforts to assure adequate investment in critical …

Becoming a Water Utility Operator: Test-taking Strategies

  Written by Matt Ziegler Are you interested in where our drinking water comes from, or how our cities and towns handle all of the wastewater that is generated by our modern society? Do you care about the health of your community and its future? Are you looking for a career that pays well with the potential for growth? If …

Partnerships and Regionalization – A Real Life Situation

Written by: Tom Roberts, Community Assistance Manager, EFC at UNC Did you know there are over 250 publicly owned small water systems serving less than 1,000 connections in North Carolina? In the case of water and wastewater utilities, bigger can often mean better. The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was asked earlier this …

Water as a Service

At a recent conference, we asked utility managers and operators to tell us about their everyday communication challenges. Again and again, we heard that communicating with customers about the value of the service their utility provides was difficult, because too often, customers think about water as a good rather than a service. Customers see water all around them (even falling …

Metrics to Determine Principal Forgiveness Eligibility: Highlighting EPA Region 4

  The State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs have become a well-known financing option for many water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country. This is mainly due to the longevity of the clean water (CWSRF) and drinking water (DWSRF) programs and the appealing financing options, such as low-interest rates, offered in each state. However, many communities across the country still struggle to obtain this …

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 …

Are Your Rates Special?

Written by: Annalee Harkins Annalee Harkins is a Data Specialist and Project Manager at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In the course of conducting our statewide utility rates surveys, we here at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examine thousands of rate structures each year. …

Blog Post Round-Up: Infrastructure Week 2018

Written by: Elizabeth Harvell Elizabeth Harvell is the Outreach Coordinator at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Today marks the end of the sixth annual National Infrastructure Week—a week of events, media coverage, and issue advocacy across the country to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting America’s future. In the world of environmental …