Paying for Clean, Safe, Affordable Water: Water Infrastructure Funding Webinar Series

06/18/2019 - 08/20/2019
All Day

Event Info

Investment in water infrastructure including drinking water, wastewater and stormwater lags well behind what is needed to ensure safe, clean and affordable water, and water systems are struggling to maintain and rehabilitate the nation’s aging infrastructure. This four-part webinar series will look at how communities generate the money for water projects (both traditional pipes and treatment as well as green infrastructure), how investment decisions are made and how local organizations can play a role.

River Network recently released a Drinking Water Guide that includes a section on What Does Drinking Water Cost and What is My Water Bill Paying For? This four-part webinar series provides the chance to dig deeper into these issues and understand better how water infrastructure is currently paid for including issues of sustainability, affordability and equity. Webinar participants will also have the opportunity to follow up with the speakers on specific issues in online “office hours.”

Understanding how the Money is Supposed to Flow: Water Infrastructure Funding and Finance 101

Tuesday, June 18th 1:00-2:30PM EST

Presenter:Stacey Isaac Berahzer, CEO of IB Environmental

Summary of Webinar: In the first of a four-part webinar series, Stacey Isaac Berahzer will provide an overview of  where water, wastewater and stormwater utilities are positioned in the local government framework (e.g. local government departments, authorities, etc.) , and how this positioning affects their financial flexibility. We will take a look at the “fund accounting” approach in local government finance to better understand the rules that should keep water rate revenues preserved for water. Participants will be provided with a couple of quick ways to check utility financial health.

We will then take a tour of where the money for these projects comes from, including, loans (such as the State Revolving Funds), grants, bonds, user fees, assessments, impact fees and taxes and resources for where to learn more.

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Setting Water Rates Basics: How Raising Money for Water Projects Happens at the Local Level

Tuesday, July 9th 1:00-2:30 PM EST

Presenter:Stacey Isaac Berahzer, CEO of IB Environmental

Summary of Webinar: In the second of a four-part webinar series, Stacey Isaac Berahzer will provide an overview of the rate setting process for water and wastewater utilities. We will talk about how decisions such as project prioritization for capital improvement plans and asset management are made, and how these prioritized projects drive the rate-setting process. We will review key aspects of rate design, such as customer classes, base charge and billing period and the rate setting approval process. Participants will get an overview of the types of rates structures, and the pros and cons associated with each type. In particular, we will look at how different types of rate structures may affect water conservation and affordability (note that these will be addressed further in the third webinar).

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Setting Water Rates Considering Customer Affordability and System & Resource Sustainability: Aiming to Address these Needs Together

Tuesday, July 30th 1:00-2:30 PM EST

Presenter: Stacey Isaac Berahzer, CEO of IB Environmental

Summary of Webinar: In the third of a four-part webinar series, Stacey Isaac Berahzer will take participants on a deeper dive into setting water rates to address sustainability and affordability. Building off of webinar 2 in this series, we will explore how rates can be designed to address customer affordability issues and water conservation and efficiency. Water utility revenue needs can be so great that even well-planned rates may leave some low-income customers at risk. We will explore a tool that uses census data to measure customer affordability using multiple metrics. Communities can then use these quantitative results to decide if rates are too high for a significant portion of the customer population. The presenter will also provide tips on setting up a separate customer assistance program (CAP), while encouraging water conservation for customers experiencing hardship. We will outline how CAPs can pave the way for an appropriate rate structure that supports sustainable resource management and ensures access to essential drinking water.

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Innovative Financing for Green Infrastructure: Waves in Water Funding

Tuesday, August 20th 1:00-2:30 PM EST


  • Stacey Isaac Berahzer, CEO of IB Environmental
  • Amanda Hallauer, Environmental Planner, City of Atlanta Watershed Management

Summary of Webinar: In the fourth of a 4-part webinar series, Stacey Isaac Berahzer will provide an overview of the evolving use of green infrastructure for water quality management nationally. We will share examples of how some traditional financing sources, such as the State Revolving Funds and local utility capital improvement plans, are now used to fund green infrastructure (GI) projects. The presenter will outline the key role that stormwater utilities with robust incentive programs play in providing a dedicated source of financing for GI projects.  We will focus on case studies of innovative financing models including trading and public-private partnerships. Amanda Hallauer with the City of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management will discuss the nation’s first environmental impact municipal bond.

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