Equity Guide for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Practitioners

Equity Guide for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Practitioners

Developed by the Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange and Greenprint Partners, the Equity Guide for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Practitioners is a resource by and for green infrastructure program managers representing local public sector stormwater management organizations across the United States and Canada.

It offers an action and evaluation roadmap that defines:

  1. the industry’s shared long-term equity goals,
  2. best practices that will move the needle, and
  3. sample metrics that help us track progress toward those goals over time.

It also offers a variety of tools to support practitioners in customizing community informed equity work plans and evaluation plans to local contexts.

Click the link below to download the guide.

Financing the Future: How to Pay for Turf Replacement

To achieve thirsty, non-essential turf conversion at larger scale, Colorado cities and utilities will need to be positioned to make significant investments in these programs, as they would for other water supply projects. A growing number of Colorado water providers, as well as utilities throughout the West, are putting programs in place to encourage their public and private customers to swap non-essential turfgrass for waterwise landscaping. Target customers include commercial, industrial, and institutional property owners, home owners associations, multi-family residential building owners, and single family residents, as well as municipal departments that use a significant amount of water. Turf replacements are, in many ways, the next low-hanging fruit for reaching the State's water conservation objectives, and ensuring a secure water supply. This paper examines some of the more promising funding and financing pathways available to water providers to scale up turf replacement locally.

Governance Options & Opportunities

Governance Options, and Opportunities, for Public Clean Water Agencies in a COVID-19 World

By: Moonshot Missions for National Association of Clean Water Agencies

"The COVID-19 pandemic heightened beyond measure the threats posed by these existing challenges. Protecting courageous water professionals that deliver drinking water and clean water services from exposure to health risks requires social distancing and staggered shifts – accentuating the reliance on critical and hard-to-replace essential personnel. Support for the public health of all citizens, particularly those in underserved communities, has fostered widespread suspension of service shut-offs, late fees, and the advent of new payment plans.

The good news is that – despite revenue and operational impacts — the water sector overall is resilient and has demonstrated terrific leadership in its response to the pandemic. Promising technology enables distance operations and management, virtual control systems are field-tested and proving worthy of further study or implementation. Most importantly, utilities have moved quickly to consider and implement new governance, procurement, and financial management systems. One of the astonishing stories of the pandemic is how water, this lifegiving resource critical to hygiene and stemming the spread of the virus, continues to flow safely and largely without interruption despite the current challenges."

NACWA partnered with Moonshot Missions to create this checklist they recommend a clean water utility review before considering or accepting proposals for private funding, management and/or ownership.

Continue reading the full report and access the checklist by clicking the link below.

Multifaceted intra-city water system arrangements

Multifaceted intra-city water system arrangements in California: Influences and implications for residents

By: Gregory Pierce, Kyra Gmoser-Daskalakis

Some cities directly provide drinking water and other utility services to their residents, whereas others contract out these responsibilities in full or in part, with considerable implications for service and non-service outcomes. There is a robust literature considering reasons for city-private provider binaries, as well as a growing number of studies assessing the rise in special district service provision, mixed service delivery arrangements, and inter- municipal service delivery within metropolitan contexts. On the other hand, there are few studies assessing city-level prevalence of these three main provider types jointly, as well as fully accounting for the diversity of institutional arrangements in drinking water service within individual cities.

This study provides an empirical profile of and analyzes influences on diverse city-level water service provider arrangements using a dataset compiled for all 482 cities in California. The analysis shows, among other things, that cities which run their own water system exclusively are more likely to institute conservation policies, and provide suggestive evidence that residents living in cities served by multiple water systems are exposed to wide variance in water rates. Thus, the report concludes, water system fragmentation within city boundaries has implications for resource management policy and equity in intra-city resident essential service outcomes.

Click the link below to read the full report.

Does it Matter for Water Conservation?

Public vs Private: Does it Matter for Water Conservation? Insights from California

By: G. Kallis, I. Ray, J. Fulton, J.E. McMahon

In this report, researchers in California evaluate three questions:

  1. Does the public view private and public utilities differently, and if so, does this affect attitudes to conservation?
  2. Do public and private utilities differ in their approaches to conservation?
  3. Do differences in the approaches of the utilities, if any, relate to differences in public attitudes?

Based on their survey, the report explains that, overall, California's public utilities appear more proactive and target-oriented in asking their customers to conserve than their private counterparts. Click the link below to read the full report.

From Pragmatic to Polarized?

From pragmatic to politicized? The future of water remunicipalization in the United States

By: Thomas M. Hanna, David A. McDonald

The United States has experienced swings of public and private operation of its water services for more than 150 years. This paper examines the most recent swing, that of remunicipalization. The authors argue that much of this remunicipalization is taking place for ‘pragmatic’ reasons related to cost savings and service quality, but there are also signs of more ‘politicized’ forms of water remunicipalization taking place, similar to efforts elsewhere in the world where the process has often involved heated ideological debates and mass mobilizations. Combined with a growing politicization of other social, economic, and environmental issues in the US, water remunicipalization could become more politicized in the future, but a fragmented ‘pro-public’ movement, combined with ongoing efforts to outsource water services and growing resistance to remunicipalization from private water companies, may constrain this potential.

Click the link below to read the full report.

Our Public Water Future

Our Public Water Future

Published by Transnational Institute (TNI), Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), Multinationals Observatory, Municipal Services Project (MSP) and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)

This book aims to draw lessons and stimulate debates on water remunicipalisation as an under-researched topic of high relevance for citizens, policymakers and scholars alike. Based on empirical data, the book documents the rise of water remunicipalisation across developed, transition, and developing countries in the last 15 years. Drawing on contributions by activists, practitioners, and academics with direct experience and knowledge of remunicipalisation, the book argues that remunicipalisation is a socially and economically viable policy option for local authorities and the communities they represent. As such, the book is intended to serve as a resource for building alliances among diverse social actors – including public water managers and decision-makers, workers and their trade unions, civic organisations and social movements, experts and academics – to encourage social learning and promote this new form of public service provision.

Click the link below to download the full resource.

Water Privatization Threatens Workers, Consumers and Local Economies

Water Privatization Threatens Workers, Consumers and Local Economies

Report examining the three main ways that private operation and management of water and sewer systems can affect workers and their communities:

  1. Job cuts
  2. Pay and benefits cuts
  3. Loss of unions

To read the full report click the link below.

Funding & Financing: Why Choices Matter

Funding and Financing to Sustain Public Infrastructure: Why Choices Matter

By: Dr. Janice Beecher, Michigan State University, Center for Community and Economic Development

Investment in public infrastructure, including the provision of essential services through capital-intensive networks, is critical to supporting economic development and, more so, the quality of places and lives. The sustainability of public utilities and other infrastructure systems depends on spending to an optimal compliant service level and raising revenues that fully cover the cost of service. Sustaining infrastructure relies on both funding and financing mechanisms, which should not be confused. This primer provides a framework for understanding the difference between funding and financing and why policy choices for these functions matter. Funding choices affect the distribution of burdens on service consumers; financing choices affect the cost of capital for service providers. These implications tend to receive less attention than behavioral incentives for economic efficiency. The portfolio of alternative funding and financing methods and instruments is described along with how they relate to structural and governance models for service delivery. The report provides key statistics and trends across U.S. infrastructure sectors, with highlights for Michigan.

Click the link below to read the full report.

Private Water Utilities: Actions Needed to Enhance Ownership Data

Private Water Utilities: Actions Needed to Enhance Ownership Data

The roughly 50,000 drinking water utilities in the United States face steep costs—more than $470 billion over the next 20 years, according to EPA estimates—to repair and replace drinking water infrastructure. These costs are passed on to customers through water rates. States regulate the rates charged by privately owned water utilities. EPA has responsibilities to implement programs to further the health protection objectives of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

In this report, GAO reviews private for-profit drinking water utilities and rates. This report examines, among other things, (1) information available from EPA and other sources about the number and characteristics of private for-profit water utilities in the United States, and (2) Drinking Water SRF assistance provided to private for-profit water utilities. GAO reviewed EPA SDWIS data, Drinking Water SRF data, and Global Water Intelligence data, as well as EPA’s and others’ documents. GAO also interviewed EPA and water utility stakeholders.

Click the link below to download the full report.


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