Post by Anna Patterson, Project Director at the UNC EFC
Water and wastewater utilities are often faced with tricky financial problems that do not have clear-cut solutions. Luckily, the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) is here to help!
The EFCN is a group of university and non-profit-based organizations that work with government agencies, public and private sector environmental groups, and water and wastewater utilities to provide innovative solutions to difficult how-to-pay questions. Some of the resources that the EFCN has made available on its recently updated website are highlighted below:
- Tools and Publications – The EFCN network is comprised of environmental professionals and data scientists who routinely publish articles and develop interactive dashboards and tools that help water and wastewater agencies evaluate their overall financial health.
- Dashboards – The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides statewide dashboards of water and wastewater utilities so that individual utilities can compare their rates in context with other utilities of similar sizes. Dashboards also help utilities benchmark their rates against characteristics like utility financing, system characteristics, demographic data, and location.
- Affordability tool – The affordability tool allows users to select any municipality and assess the affordability of their water and wastewater rates for their residential customers. The information generated in the tool is based on census data and collected utility rates. An explanation of the tool can be found here.
- Funding Tables – Funding sources by state or territory have been compiled so that visitors to the EFCN website can look through a list of funding resources available in their state.
- On-site Decentralized Wastewater Switchboard – The Southwest Environmental Finance Center offers a compilation of information on the ownership, operation, and maintenance of septic tanks, community cluster systems, and lagoons.
- Multimedia Library – The EFCN regularly hosts webinars and podcasts and publishes blogs on current environmental finance topics. These resources can be conveniently sorted by topic and by media type.
- Training and Events – While the multimedia library contains links to past events, the training and events page will exhibit events that are open to registration in the near future. The trainings and webinars can be sorted by location, date, topic, and mode of instruction (in person or virtual). Registration information for upcoming events is available along with learning objectives, trainer information, and notes on the target audience for the event. Many of the events are free and offer CEU credits.
From water rates analysis to stormwater management to environmental justice, the members of the EFCN have a wide range of expertise and are available and ready to help communities find creative solutions. So, take a look through the resources on the please head to the contact tab to leave a question or sign up for the newsletter.
Need technical assistance? The Environmental Finance Center Network is here to help!
The Environmental Finance Center Network offers free one-on-one technical assistance for small water systems. To read more about technical assistance or to express interest in our support, fill out our interest form here.