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Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center

About the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center

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Mission of the Center

The Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center is an information and assistance center, helping communities make informed decisions for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure to protect human health and the environment.

The Center's Strategic Goals


The Center seeks to accelerate and improve the quality of water infrastructure:

    Goal 1: Research - Identify financial solutions to help communities meet infrastructure needs.

    Goal 2: Advise - Provide financial advice, support, and technical assistance to stakeholders.

    Goal 3: Innovate - Provide expertise and add value to the national water conversation.

    Goal 4: Network - Build relationships with government partners and stakeholders.

""Goal 1: Research

The Center works toward this goal by providing water infrastructure financing information and assistance to local governments:

            • Customer Assistance Program (CAPs) Compendium - Worked with national associations to highlight CAPs offered by drinking water and wastewater utilities. CAPs help address affordability concerns for individual households. View the Compendium.
            • Water Finance Clearinghouse - Developing a water infrastructure financing clearinghouse to facilitate easy access to water financing resources, such as reports, tools, case studies etc. to help communities make informed decisions.
            • Resiliency Financing - Helping communities identify financing options for resilient and sustainable infrastructure projects. 
            • Small System Financing Resources - Assembling financial capacity building resources for small drinking water and wastewater systems.
""Goal 2: Advise

The Center works toward this goal by providing financial guidance to communities and implementing recommendations from federal advisory groups:

            • Environmental Finance Centers (EFCs) - Working with the regional-based Environmental Finance Centers to offer education, technical assistance, training, and develop tools to meet state, local, tribal, and private sector environmental needs. Learn about the EFCs.
            • Community Assistance for Resiliency and Excellence (WaterCARE) - Providing communities with predevelopment financial planning assistance to meet their water infrastructure investment needs. Participating communities have a population size of less than 100,000, an immediate public health, a low median household income, and/or other measure of need. Find WaterCARE communities.
            • Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) - Operating under the authority of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, EFAB provides EPA with advice and recommendations on a broad range of financing issues affecting federal policies and programs. View EFAB reports.
""Goal 3: Innovate

The Center works toward this goal by exploring leading-edge approaches to procurement and funding solutions, and developing roadmaps that identify and support best practices:

            • Public & Private Partnerships - Exploring financing strategies of public-private and public-public partnerships in the water sector to create project profiles and models. We also offer training for local officials. Learn about Partnerships.
            • Communities in Need - Sharing best practices in funding and financing approaches for economically challenged communities to address affordability concerns. 
            • Emerging Finance Models - Explore new and emerging finance approaches that address water quality and quantity challenges such as: Pay for Success, Pay for Performance, green bonds, energy and water performance contracting, water quality trading, and additional conservation financing strategies.  
""Goal 4: Network

The Center works toward this goal by participating in activities and projects that present opportunities to address systemic issues with scalable solutions, and incorporating external feedback to ensure actions provide value to stakeholders:

            • National Drought Resiliency Partnership – Collaborating with federal agencies, states, and water industry leaders on best practices in the financing of drought resilient water infrastructure including use of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).
            • Regional Water Finance Forums – Convening forums across the country where communities discuss challenges and share their successful water and wastewater infrastructure financing strategies. Register for a Finance Forum.

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Why the Center Was Created

Communities across the country face the challenge of aging and inadequate water infrastructure. Most of our underground water infrastructure was built 50 or more years ago, in the post-World War II era. In some older urban areas, many water mains are a century old. The implications of deteriorating infrastructure can be felt nationwide.

The report Addressing the Challenge through Science and Innovation (PDF) (6 pp, 1.3 MB, About PDFshows:

  • There are approximately 240,000 water main breaks per year in the U.S.
  • Approximately $2.6 billion is lost as water mains leak trillions of gallons of treated drinking water.
  • Billions of gallons of raw sewage are discharged into local surface waters from aging wastewater conveyance systems every year.

According to EPA's estimate of drinking water and wastewater needs:

  • Over $600 billion is needed for water infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years.

These challenges impact drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure that sustain local economies. The emerging challenges of stronger and more frequent storms, droughts, and floods heighten the urgency to reinvest in water sector infrastructure.

Investments in water infrastructure have immense returns for communities. Clean, reliable water and wastewater services bring public health and environmental benefits. Safe and clean water:

  • Fuels the economy.
  • Creates jobs.
  • Protects public health.
  • Increases quality of life.

Additional Resources

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