Water Wise Landscapes & HOAs: Fact Sheet

Water Wise Landscapes: Fact Sheet

Roughly 40 to 50% of all municipal water used in Colorado is applied outdoors, with much of this going to water thirsty turfgrass. Non-native turfgrass requires extensive, and increasingly expensive, irrigation water to stay green in the dry Colorado summer. As drought and rising temperatures strain Colorado's water supplies, communities across the state are transitioning from non-functional turf to water wise landscaping to save both water and money. Homeowners Associations (HOAs) have an important role to play in this transition. Many HOAs maintain landscaped areas, much of which is non-functional turf, in community entryways, medians, and unused common spaces.

This fact sheet provides an overview of how HOAs can benefit from waterwise landscaping, how HOAs can pay for these water infrastructure solutions, and examples from Colorado HOAs already making these cost-effective, sustainable investments.

Click below to download the fact sheet. To read the full report click here.


Water Wise Landscapes: A Cost-Effective HOA Investment

Water Wise Landscapes: A Cost-Effective HOA Investment in Resilience

In recent years, Colorado has seen unprecedented momentum behind the replacement of non- functional, cool season turfgrass – such as Kentucky bluegrass – with water wise plants and grasses that significantly reduce outdoor water demand while providing important environmental, economic, and community benefits. Since Homeowners Association (HOA) communities are widespread in Colorado, replacing irrigated but unused turf on HOA-managed properties, like community entryways or large common areas, presents an important water savings opportunity for HOAs, water providers, and the state as a whole.

This report aims to help HOAs successfully leverage funding and financing opportunities to pay for turf conversion projects, to maximize their return on investment, and to make informed financial decisions about their project. Case studies are included to demonstrate how other Colorado HOAs have successfully funded, implemented, and benefitted from turf conversion projects. Since HOAs are managed, governed, and funded differently from, for example, a city that wants to replace turfgrass at city hall, the report addresses how the funding and financing opportunities available to HOAs will also be different. Identifying funding is one of several important phases involved in carrying out a successful turf conversion project from start to finish.

Click below to download the report.


The Bond Basics

The Bond Basics

This “Basics Handbook,” prepared by a subcommittee of the General Law and Practice Committee of the National Association of Bond Lawyers, represents a compilation of resource materials relating to the issuance of municipal securities. The subcommittee was purposefully staffed with attorneys and non-attorneys with varied levels of experience in public finance. This Basics Handbook is intended to provide certain foundational information to serve as a resource for those beginning their work in the legal aspects of public finance (“Novices”) as well as more experienced professionals who, from time to time, would like to get back to the basics. Readers are encouraged to revisit this Basics Handbook as they gain more experience in public finance. This Basics Handbook is intended to be easily digestible by Novices in public finance on their first day, but still helpful for partners revisiting concepts in federal tax law or federal securities law. It is a basic, but insightful, reference tool which may serve as a foundation for understanding public finance transaction documents and related matters. The National Association of Bond Lawyers does not intend this Basics Handbook to set standards or provide documents for use in municipal bond transactions.

Click the link below to download the guide.

Rainfall to Results

Rainfall to Results: the Future of Stormwater

Stormwater presents several unique challenges when compared to its more mature water sector counterparts of drinking water and waste- water. The dispersed nature of stormwater makes responsibility for its treatment and control hard to assign. Since the promulgation of the Phase I and Phase II municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) regulation, communities have been faced with the task of managing stormwater flows based on early studies highlighting the potentially significant water quality effects of urban runoff.

Initial techniques to provide stormwater management focused on traditional “gray” infrastructure, but the evolution of stormwater has been heading in the direction of nature-based, or “green”, infrastructure. Similarly, the passive practices used in the first generation of stormwater infrastructure investments is starting to give way to “smart” stormwater infrastructure that uses automated controls to enhance the performance of stormwater facilities.

In addition, the view of urban runoff as being a burden has morphed into a perspective that stormwater flows are valued as significant water resources to be captured and used in strategic ways. Lastly, the rise of emerging contaminants, such as microplastics and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, highlights the need for true source control in stormwater programs.

In response to these challenges, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) has identified seven areas within the stormwater sector to drive change with a vision for each area:

  1. Work at the watershed scale
  2. Tranform stormwater governance
  3. Support innovative best practices
  4. Manage and maintain stormwater assets
  5. Continue to close the funding gap
  6. Engage the community
  7. Plan for stormwater resilience

Click below to read the full WEF report.

Lead Communications Guide and Toolkit

American Water Works Association's Lead Communications Guide and Toolkit

The U.S. EPA’s revised Lead and Copper Rule follows water crisis situations that captured national headlines and eroded public confidence in drinking water. The rule presents utilities with new challenges, but fundamentally, the rule is an opportunity to strengthen public trust. Regardless of whether you have a dedicated communications department, we all have the responsibility to engage with our communities and tell the story of drinking water and what we do to minimize the risk of lead getting into the drinking water.

AWWA’s Lead Communications Guide and Toolkit draws insights and examples from utilities throughout the United States and Canada that are at the forefront of communicating about water quality and lead. This document includes the following:

+Communication best practices, examples, and guidance.

+Tips on communicating about water quality with your community.

+A summary of the LCRR requirements and what they mean for your utility’s communication and outreach efforts.

+Checklists for meeting key LCRR communication and outreach requirements and assessing your readiness for implementation.

Click the link below to download the toolkit.

Sustainable Funding for PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters

Sustainable Funding for Philadelphia's Green City, Clean Waters Plan

The City of Philadelphia adopted the Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW) plan in 2011 as part of its regulatory obligation under the Clean Water Act to reduce pollution resulting from combined sewer overflows. The 25-year plan envisions the City implementing approximately 9,564 greened acres (GA) (34% of the combined sewer impervious areas) with green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), which along with other stormwater practices will capture 85% of baseline annual wet weather flow into the sewer system. The plan represents a transition from managing stormwater based solely on a gray infrastructure system to managing stormwater through a hybrid system that incorporates both gray and green infrastructure. The implementation cost was initially estimated at $2.4 billion and updated to $4.5 billion in 2021. The GCCW plan implementation has generated significant benefits, including $60 million added to local economies and expansion of the local GSI industry (an estimated 430 jobs), according to a five-year review by the Sustainable Business Network and Econsult Solutions issued in 2016. The report found that GSI is generally cheaper than conventional built infrastructure, which is vital in keeping rates affordable, while also creating additional neighborhood benefits.

This report, completed with support from the William Penn Foundation, considers the sustainability of the funding and financing strategies that support reaching the target set out in the GCCW plan for the City’s hybrid stormwater management system, with specific focus on private non-residential land and non-City owned public land.

Click the link below to download the full report.



Throughout 2021, in partnership with staff from the Cities of Sheboygan and Green Bay, Wisconsin, American Rivers, WaterNow Alliance, and One Water Econ worked advance our collective understanding of the incentives and financing options that could be appropriate to support green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) programs in mid-sized cities.

The team reviewed regulatory and non-regulatory policies and explored existing programs in each municipality, and then provided an analysis of financial resources and strategies that would support a suite of recommended incentive programs and financing options. This report grows out of that experience and is intended to provide an overview of GSI funding, financing, and incentive programs that are relevant to small and mid- sized municipalities in Wisconsin.

Click the link below to download the report.

Navigating GI Maintenance with Capitalized Establishment Costs

Navigating Green Infrastructure Maintenance with Capitalized Establishment Costs

For nearly two decades, local stormwater managers have recognized green infrastructure (GI) as an effective, multi-benefit approach to manage stormwater. GI provides significant benefits for combating the water quality and climate change related challenges that municipalities face. In addition, GI is a centerpiece One Water strategy; it can capture and reuse stormwater to enhance water supply reliability, creating resilience to drought. Beyond these water management benefits, GI generates community and economic co-benefits including local green jobs, among others.
Yet, GI has mostly remained on the fringes of stormwater management. A “nice to have” amenity. To realize its potential and have a substantial impact for communities, GI needs to scale up rapidly. Lack of funds to pay for GI maintenance is often cited as a leading barrier to getting to scale.

This Environmental Policy Innovation Center and WaterNow report presents a solution GI practitioners and proponents can add to the toolkit for navigating this funding barrier and getting to scale: ensuring that the three to five-year vegetative establishment period for GI is treated as a capital cost instead of a maintenance expense. Recognizing establishment period costs as capital costs unlocks access to key financing options.

Click below to download the report.

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.

Briefing: Implementing the BIL & Justice40

Member Briefing: EPA's Strategies for Ensuring Equitable Access to SRFs

Click the link below to download the slides from WaterNow's June 15, 2022, member briefing. You can watch the recording here.



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