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Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project

The Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP) was established through funding from the U.S. Government’s Office of Economic Opportunity in the 1960s. The Project helps low-income rural communities in the mid-Atlantic and the Southeastern U.S. obtain water and wastewater infrastructure for running water, indoor plumbing, and wastewater treatment. Water utilities in these rural areas often lack funding to provide such infrastructure. Households that are not supplied with drinking water tend to rely on wells and septic tanks, which can get contaminated by pollution from agricultural activity and the lack of suitable wastewater treatment. SERCAP assists both individuals and municipalities, and its services include installing infrastructure, providing financing and loans, and offering technical support. In addition to providing services related to water, SERCAP also provides support on housing issues.

Resource Category: Organizations

 

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Tucson AZ Rainwater Harvesting Rebates

September 2013

Since 2012, the City of Tucson, Arizona has provided over $2 million in rebates for the Rainwater Harvesting Rebates Program, which allows the city’s water utility, Tucson Water, to subsidize the installation of rainwater catchment systems on residential properties throughout the city. The installations increase tree canopy cover, which helps to more effectively manage rainwater resources throughout the year. To increase project participation within low-income neighborhoods, the program provides grants and loans. These systems work to significantly reduce potable water use, push residents to move beyond sustainable practices and towards regenerative practices, and enhance the quality of life by extending the amount of tree canopy across Tucson. 

Resource Category: Funding

 

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EPA Urban Waters Small Grants

2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Urban Waters Program is a potential source of funding for green infrastructure and other resilience projects that highlight equity and environmental justice. The program offers small grants (up to $60,000) for water projects that encourage the growth of local business, promote public education, or otherwise create recreational, social, and employment opportunities in local communities. Since its inception in 2012 the program has provided $6.6 million in funding to 114 organizations across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Through this program, underserved communities can access healthy waters; helping grow local businesses and enhancing educational and social opportunities.

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Community-driven Water Solutions in California's Central Valley - Community Water Center

Formed in 2006, the Community Water Center (CWC) is a grassroots organization in California’s Central Valley that works to combat water insecurity in frontline communities through community organizing, policy advocacy and public education to influence water governance and decision making. Many residents of the Central Valley are from low income, predominantly Latinx communities that deal with water scarcity, groundwater contamination, or a lack of proper infrastructure. CWC provides technical and legal assistance for frontline communities, training residents as clean water advocates and helping to secure funding for sustainable drinking water projects.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Seattle Public Utilities - Utility Discount Program

2020

In recent years, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), which is the city’s water utility and provides drinking water and wastewater treatment, has strongly emphasized community engagement and equity issues through the creation of a variety of organizations and programs. One organization, Connect Capital, which is comprised of SPU staff and members of a community foundation and a community organization, advises SPU on how to ensure that the benefits of future  investments are equitable and address climate threats to those at risk of displacement. One result of Connect Capital’s encouragement is SPU’s investment in infrastructure in frontline communities, such as the South Park Neighborhood. Another equitable initiative under SPU is the Utility Discount Program, under which seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income customers receive a reduction in their water and electricity bills. Households with incomes at or below 70% of state median income pay only 50% of their SPU bill. Further still, SPU’s Environmental Justice and Service Equity Division aims to promote inclusive community engagement and collaboration.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Chester, Pennsylvania Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plan and Community-Based Public-Private Partnership

June 2017

The City of Chester, Pennsylvania introduced the Chester City Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plan in 2017 as a means of addressing consistent stormwater pollution and overflow into the Delaware River, Chester Creek, and Ridley Creek watersheds. Chester’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) system often is overwhelmed during high rain and runoff events, which leads to increased flooding and water pollution and degradation of the river basin. The plan details Chester’s specific infrastructure needs, as well as the environmental and social benefits of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). It also analyzes common GSI techniques including rain gardens, green roofs, stormwater planters, and porous pavements, and includes their typical cost. The plan then lists 20 potential sites within the City for GSI projects, guidance for first steps, suggestions for effective community engagement, and potential sources of both public and private funding. To fund the GSI projects, the City formed a community-based public-private partnership (CBP3), which is a different approach to financing stormwater management that expands on the traditional public-private partnership model by incorporating considerations of a community’s economic development needs. Coupled with its focus on green infrastructure as a primary means of stormwater management, this structure promotes not only improvements in water quality but in the community’s overall quality of life. The plan will also address equity through hiring local contractors for the infrastructure projects, training local workers to maintain projects, and creating new maintenance jobs for community members.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Community Based Public-Private Partnerships (CBP3s) and Alternative Market-Based Tools for Integrated Green Stormwater Infrastructure

April, 2015

This report, developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), presents a guide for successfully implementing a Community-Based Public Private Partnership (CBP3) model for addressing stormwater pollution in communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  CBP3s are partnerships between a government and a private entity designed to leverage additional capacity and financing for delivery of infrastructure projects, while also increasing stakeholder engagement in project delivery.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Letter Report Assessing the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program's Science Framework

2010

The U. S. Geological Survey requested that the National Research Council review and provide guidance on the direction and priorities of the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. The Council put together a committee to provide an assessment of the NAWQA Program's Science Framework in terms of whether it sets forth adequately the priorities for the future which will be addressed in the third cycle of the program. The report recommends that activities in this cycle be organized around two drivers of stressed water supplies and related ecosystems: change in land use, and climate variability and change.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Rio Grande Water Fund - Comprehensive Plan for Wildfire and Water Source Protection, New Mexico

July 2014

The Rio Grande Water Fund and The Nature Conservancy developed this Comprehensive Plan to guide forest restoration projects, and outline a funding plan to ensure New Mexico’s water security through the restoration of forested watersheds connected to the Rio Grande. The plan sets the priorities for allocating funding to areas with important water sources and high wildfire risk. With reduced snowpack and hotter summer temperatures contributing to greater risk of severe wildfire, this plan represents an adaptation strategy to both moderate wildfire risk and to protect water quality and supply for New Mexico.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Options for Improving Climate Modeling to Assist Water Utility Planning for Climate Change

December 2009

This report, which was commissioned by the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA), considers how federal investments in the science of climate change, and in particular climate modeling, can best be directed to help improve the quality of  research so that it may be more useful to water utilities and other possible users in adapting to climate change.   It explains how climate models work, describes how some WUCA members have used climate models and downscaling to assess impacts on their systems and develop adaptation options, and makes seven initial recommendations for how climate modeling and downscaling techniques can be improved so that these tools and techniques can be more useful for the water sector.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Joseph Barsugli, Chris Anderson, Joel B. Smith, Jason M. Vogel

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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