Case studies

DC Water

As part of its Clean Rivers Project, DC Water will invest $158 million in green stormwater investments with an overall goal of reducing combined sewer overflows to area surface waters such as Rock Creek. To help pay for these green infrastructure projects, DC Water issued the nation’s first Environmental Impact Bond in partnership with Quantified Ventures. The pay-for-success model helped shift risk away from DC Water to outside investors, minimizing the impact on ratepayers.

Click below to download Quantified Ventures’ full case study on DC Water’s EIB. You can also find WaterNow’s Innovation in Action: 21st Century Water Infrastructure Solutions white paper featuring DC Water together with 12 other localized infrastructure case studies in the All Resources library.

Project at a Glance

Utility Overview

  • Utility: District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water)
  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Population Served: 1.6 million wastewater customers
  • Service Area: 725 square miles


  • Combined sewer overflows (CSOs)
  • Pollutant discharge in local waterways
  • Compliance with Federal Consent Decree


  • A dual gray-green infrastructure approach, with programs implementing localized stormwater solutions on public and private property.

Program costs and funding sources

  • DC Clean Rivers Project budget: $2.7 billion
    • Green Infrastructure Budget: $158 million
    • Downspout Disconnection Program: $220,000 (2018), $170,000 (2017)
  • Funding source: Municipal bonds paid back by ratepayers through the DC Waters Clean Rivers Impervious Areas Charge ($25/month per ERU)
    • Environmental Impact Bond: $25 million
    • Green Bond: $350 million

Benefits of DC Water's EIB & Green Infrastructure Programs

Reduced CSOs
Access to greenspace
Stormwater mitigation
Reduced pollutant levels in local waterways
Workforce development and green jobs
Performance risk sharing between DC Water and investors

Check out WaterNow’s Tap into Resilience Toolkit to learn even more about investing in localized solutions like DC Water’s in your community.


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