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December 2015 Community-Based Public-Private Partnership (CBP3) Sustainable Stormwater Infrastructure Summit

In December 2015, the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency co-hosted a CBP3 Stormwater Infrastructure Summit (Summit) in partnership with the Water Environment Federation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, and Pennsylvania Water Environment Association.  The Summit was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended by more than 180 representatives from federal, state and local governments, non-profit organizations, academia, and private business and industry.  

The diversity of professional disciplines ranged from finance, policy and planning to science, engineering and management.  As the follow-up to the December 2014 Sustainable Financing Forum for Faster, Cheaper, Greener Urban Stormwater Retrofits, the Summit engaged a larger number of participants and presented more detailed information on CBP3s and related market-based approaches and financing scenarios, based on EPA’s CBP3 Guide, "Community Based Public Private Partnerships (CBP3s) and Alternative Market Based Tools for Integrated Green Stormwater Infrastructure" (PDF) (127 pp, 2.42 MB, About PDF).  

Examples of Key Topics Covered During the Summit Include:

Key Messages and Highlights from the Summit:

  • Urban stormwater runoff is the only major growing source of water pollution in many parts of the United States. In order to improve water quality, communities must build smarter cities and retrofit already built environments to decrease the amount of stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces (e.g., rooftops, roadways, parking lots). 
     
  • Projected costs for stormwater infrastructure needs are at more than $100 billion.  Despite limited funds, communities must find ways to better manage stormwater and meet regulatory requirements while also adapting to climate change.  Community-based public-private partnerships offer a viable solution for financing green stormwater infrastructure at a faster rate and at a lower cost.
     
  • Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) offers a multi-benefit solution that not only improves a community's climate resiliency and water quality, it also makes communities more vibrant and livable.
     
  • The private entity of a CBP3 must be sensitive to the needs of the public sector and deliver stormwater solutions that stimulate economic growth and improve a community's quality of life.  Generally, the private sector partner is responsible for financing, implementation, and long-term maintenance of green stormwater infrastructure.
     
  • The financial strength of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program presents new opportunities to leverage funds. With strong cash balances and excess credit capacity, the CWSRF could provide meaningful guarantee capacity to support emerging environmental finance markets. As reported by the U.S. EPA Financial Advisory Board in 2014, for each dollar of recycled CWSRF program equity, $3 to $14 of CWSRF guarantee capacity could be provided to fund green infrastructure projects in addition to current project funding levels. This translates into $6 billion to $28 billion in potential green infrastructure funding capacity nationwide. 
     
  • Need for implementation of local codes and ordinances that support and enable funding of GSI (e.g., dedicated stormwater fee or utility) from government and private sources.
     
  • Encouraging small municipalities with limited resources and capacities to collaborate on a regional, watershed, or county basis to better leverage scale, funding, expertise, and capacity.
     
  • Educating community and political leaders on the additional benefits provided by GSI and CBP3s, especially community economic redevelopment, revitalization, and local business and jobs investment and creation.

For more information on the Summit, see the December 2015 CBP3 Sustainable Stormwater Infrastructure Summit Summary Notes page.