Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2012 - (Page 17)
The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread
While these challenges are signiﬁcant, they are not insurmountable. In fact, they can be viewed as drivers of much-needed change in how we ﬁnance and develop our water systems to meet future demands. New ﬁnancing models and pricing ﬂexibility, which are necessary to pay for new infrastructure and to support legacy systems, provide enormous opportunity for positive transformation necessary to keep pace with the rapid changes being experienced by counties, municipalities and investor-owned utilities. The report sought to tackle these issues and deliver some recommendations on how to understand and confront the pressing need for more sustainable and integrated water infrastructure ﬁ nancing models. The report is the product of a meeting convened by The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, in collaboration with American Rivers and Ceres, which brought together a group of experts to discuss ways to drive funding toward the infrastructure we need for the 21st century. Speciﬁcally, this group focused on the following questions: • What new financing techniques can communities use to pay for integrated and sustainable infrastructure approaches? • How can we direct private capital toward more sustainable water management projects? The report finds that while options for more cost-effective, resilient and environmentally sustainable systems are available, they are not the norm. In fact, investment in inﬂexible and expensive “siloed” water systems is still pervasive, despite the fact that money available for ﬁnancing water infrastructure is increasingly scarce. Of equal concern is the inefﬁciency of the existing systems, which lose some 6 billion gallons of expensive, treated water each day due to leaky and aging pipes— some 14 percent of the nation’s daily water use. This point is underscored by the fact that the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation’s water systems
Second Quarter 2012 • 17
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