Using River Network’s Toolkits and Guides

Our toolkits and guides are packed full of useful information. To provide a bird’s eye view, explore the flowcharts below to see how many of our toolkits can be used together. Click an icon to open a specific section of a given toolkit.

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Influencing Funding

How do the states decide how to spend their SRF funding? How can I influence its distribution to be more equitable and/or fund more green infrastructure?

The Basics of SRF Funding

  • Drinking Water State Revolving Funds are authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

  • Eligible funding recipients include publicly- and privately-owned community or nonprofit non-community water systems.

  • "Set-asides" fund technical assistance, program administration, and other local assistance and state programs.

  • States must develop Intended Use Plans for each fiscal year, including which projects will be funded by SRFs.

The Drinking Water Guide also contains additional SRF information that may be relevant to your work.

How to Influence Water Infrastructure Funding

  • Public participation is a required step in each state's selection process.

  • Participate by writing comments, speaking at public hearings, and coordinating with others to also attend.

  • Conduct infrastructure investment assessments and planning using community-led research.

  • Build community leadership programs to influence local decision-making.

  • Center advocacy around investing in infrastructure in low-wealth frontline communities.

  • Encourage states to review and revise their definition of “disadvantaged communities” and affordability criteria.

Affordability & Water Bills

How does water infrastructure impact water affordability? What does my water bill cover?

How Water Infrastructure Impacts Water Affordability

  • Water infrastructure updates and repairs impacts ratepayers' water bills.

  • Trends over time: water infrastructure investment has decreased from federal and state governments.

  • Utilities can address affordability through CAPs, different rate structures, & water conservation, as well as through infrastructure improvements (i.e. Reducing water loss).

  • By using SRF funds, utilities can address important water infrastructure needs while limiting the costs to their ratepayers and minimizing rate increases and subsequent water affordability issues.

What a Water Bill Covers

  • Water bills typically include information about water usage and detail corresponding charges for usage and infrastructure operations.

  • Fixed fees and unrelated charges can affect affordability since they're not influenced by actual usage or conservation efforts.

  • The costs of potable water include capital costs and operations and maintenance costs, which impact your water bill.

Community-Based Solutions for Water

How can my neighborhood achieve infrastructure investments for flooding issues? How can my community group conduct our own research and develop community leadership to find solutions?

The Basics of Community-Led Research

  • Design the research project with community leaders to understand how the problem impacts neighborhood residents directly.

  • Identify equitable solutions that will address the problem that the community supports and will benefit residents and the community.

  • Recognize shared goals and include community in utility decision making.

  • Develop an advocacy strategy to get solutions funded and implemented in the way the community desires.

How to Foster Community Leadership Development

  • Convene a planning team to identify leadership needs and scope of program.

  • Assess your community’s needs, gaps, and interests; Identify community partners and resources.

  • Define a measurable goal. Design the program and curriculum; Recruit program participants.

  • Consider program costs and accessibility; Fund the program.

Engaging with Utilities for Climate Resilience

I’m concerned about increasing drought/flood/fire on my community’s drinking water supply. How can I engage my utility?

Establish a Working Relationship Between Utility & Community

  • Deepen community understanding of utility roles and responsibilities.

  • Attend community & utility events to create opportunities for personal connection.

  • Research your utility's plans & identify what could be improved.

  • Prepare for your visit by selecting the group of people that will represent your community.

  • Identify and support community members interested in serving on utility boards and committees.

Improve Climate Resiliency

  • Establish community-led research projects to monitor water/air/home concerns related to flooding or fire.

  • Share findings with utilities to inform planning and decision-making.

  • Identify and advocate for solutions (i.e. "distributed infrastructure").

  • States are required to use at least 10% of their Clean Water SRF money on green infrastructure projects. Encourage your utility/municipality to take advantage of this funding opportunity.