EFC News: EPA to Provide EFC $500K to Help 10 Communities with Water Infrastructure Development

EPA to Provide EFC $500K to Help 10 Communities with Water Infrastructure Development
Monday, March 28, 2016

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. The funding also goes to partner organization, Southwest Environmental Finance Center at the University of New Mexico.

The two organizations will use the funding to jointly manage the WaterCARE (Community Assistance for Resiliency and Excellence) project over two years. During that time they will help 10 communities across the country develop robust and resilient finance strategies for long-term water infrastructure support. This work will be carried out by members of the Environmental Finance Center Network, a team of university-based centers from across the country.

WaterCARE is an initiative of the EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, which acts as a resource to communities that are financing drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. The center is part of the White House Build America Investment Initiative—a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and promote economic growth.

“Communities depend on adequate drinking water and wastewater services to survive and thrive, and the 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.”

The EFC at UNC-Chapel Hill and its partners will meet one-on-one with each community to collaborate and develop a financial strategy that meets their local priorities. Each community is dedicated to increasing community sustainability by financing water infrastructure improvements.

Communities selected to participate in the WaterCARE program have a need to address public health challenges, affordability considerations and a readiness to proceed with an infrastructure improvement project. The ten communities selected to receive WaterCARE assistance are: Buchanan County, Virginia; the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, Montana; Gatesville, Texas; Haines Borough, Alaska; the Hoopa Valley Tribe, California; Johnston, Iowa; Lawrence, Massachusetts; Selma, Alabama; the Township of South Orange Village, New Jersey; and Youngstown, Ohio.

The Environmental Finance Center at UNC-Chapel Hill is dedicated to enhancing the ability of governments and other organizations to provide environmental programs in fair, effective and financially sustainable ways. The work of the EFC is focused on a variety of environmental areas, including water resources, clean energy, solid waste management and land conservation.

The Environmental Finance Center Network is a university-based organization creating innovative solutions to the difficult how-to-pay issues of environmental protection and improvement. The network of nine centers located throughout the United States works with the public and private sectors to promote sustainable environmental solutions while bolstering efforts to manage costs.