The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided $500,000 in funding to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Environmental Finance Center (EFC) to assist communities addressing water infrastructure challenges.
In order to protect water resources and provide clean drinking water and wastewater treatment, which are critical public health and environmental services, many communities must overcome the challenges and costs associated with inadequate and aging infrastructure. Through WaterCARE, the EFC and its partners will assist 10 communities across the country in developing robust and resilient finance strategies for water infrastructure that meets long-term needs.
A simple do-it-yourself Excel tool that guides a utility to assess the relative affordability of its water and wastewater rates on its residential customers using multiple metrics. Affordability is assessed for the average customer, low-income customers, and a full range of households based on their various income levels, both all households and only homeowners. The tool also allows for a new rate structure to be entered to see how affordability compares from one rate structure to the next.
Presenting the need for a rate increase and obtaining the approval from the governing board can be daunting for utility/local government staff. This project provides tools for utilities that assist in their preparation for and presentation requesting rate increases when necessary.
This interactive rates and financial benchmarking dashboard is designed to assist utility managers and local officials with analyzing residential water and wastewater rates against multiple characteristics, including utility finances, system characteristics, customer base socioeconomic conditions, and geography.