News Releases from Region 04
EPA Assisting Selma with Financial Planning for Water Infrastructure
(01/20/2016 - Atlanta) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is providing a total of $50,000 in financial and technical guidance to help Selma, AL invest in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. EPA's new Water Community Assistance for Resiliency and Excellence (WaterCARE) program will assist the community in developing robust and resilient finance strategies for water infrastructure that meets long-term needs.
Nationally, EPA will provide $500,000 for financial and technical assistance for 10 communities. Through WaterCARE, EPA can help communities to conduct financial evaluations including alternatives analyses, rate and revenue studies, water efficiency studies, and resiliency assessments. Services though the program may also include developing asset management programs, identifying financing options and partnership opportunities, and providing public engagement outreach and decision-maker training.
"Communities depend on adequate drinking water and wastewater services to survive and thrive, and EPA is committed to providing financial guidance to help them invest in the necessary water infrastructure," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "The need for resilient and sustainable infrastructure becomes more important as water resources are strained by the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, drought, storms, and sea level rise."
WaterCARE communities have a population less than 100,000, a need to address public health challenges, median household income considerations, and readiness to proceed with a capital improvement project. Project successes will be shared with other communities that have similar water infrastructure financing needs.
WaterCARE will meet one-on-one with Selma to collaborate on activities needed to develop a financial strategy to meet their local needs. Initial observations indicate that the WaterCARE program could assist Selma in developing an alternatives analysis to identify the appropriate technology needed for their wastewater treatment plant, determine asset management practices that could be undertaken to identify short and long-term capital planning strategies to replace aging infrastructure, and explore possibilities for regional partnerships to assist surrounding communities with wastewater needs.
In addition, EPA's Water Infrastructure Resilience and Finance Center is working in a number of other areas to increase investment in water infrastructure:
Water Finance Forums - EPA is convening a series of forums across the country for communities to share their successful financing strategies. Forums have been held in Texas and New Jersey with upcoming forums scheduled in Oregon and Virginia.
Utility Customer Assistance Programs Compendium - EPA is collaborating with national water sector associations to develop a compendium of utility customer assistance programs. The compendium will include information on programs for customers who have difficulty paying water and sewer bills. Utilities have developed these programs to enable access to drinking water and wastewater services for all customers, while meeting the operational and capital costs of providing these services. The compendium will be available in spring 2016.
Water Sector Partnerships - EPA is conducting research on P3 projects - meaning both public-private and public-public partnerships - to take an objective look at financing strategies in the water sector. EPA is developing project profiles and an accompanying model that communities can reference when considering alternate sources of funding for major water projects. Products will be available in spring 2016. EPA is also supporting water P3 training for local officials.
Stormwater Financing - EPA is developing a stormwater financing clearinghouse to help communities develop revenue streams to finance stormwater and green infrastructure projects. Products will be available in summer 2016.
Energy and Water Performance Contracting - EPA is researching model contracts to increase funding for improved energy and water management in small- and medium-sized systems.