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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Tiered Assistance Program

2017

The City of Philadelphia created the Tiered Assistance Program (TAP) in 2017 in order to address water affordability for low income communities. In Philadelphia, water affordability is an issue that affects a large number of families - between April 2012 and January 2018, 40% of households either had unpaid bills or some other sort of water debt. To address this issue, the Philadelphia Water Department implemented TAP, a program that allows customers to pay water bills at a percent of their income - this payment is capped at 3%. Through this program’s fixed rates, Philadelphians who are struggling to pay their water bill can budget more accurately and access more affordable water, which is predicted to result in increased payment rates and reduced water debts.

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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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Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE)

2018

The Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) planning process is aimed at climate adaptation and resilience planning for coastal communities in Louisiana. The strategy supports mitigating risks and increasing resilience to coastal impacts - especially flooding. The LA SAFE initiative was first funded through a HUD long-term disaster recovery grant, for six parishes most impacted by Hurricane Isaac in 2012.  Guided by the state of Louisiana, and a network of regional non-profits focused on coastal restoration and resilience, it is a goal of the LA SAFE program to expand the program statewide in the future.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Sacramento, California Leak Free Program

January 2016

The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities Leak Free program pays for leak repair in the homes of low-income Sacramento residents. Recipients of the service must be homeowners and must live in areas designated by the State of California as being a “Disadvantaged Community” (DAC). The characteristics of a DAC include poverty, high unemployment, air and water pollution, and the presence of hazardous wastes as well as high incidence of asthma and heart disease. Through this program, residents who may not have access to affordable plumbing can sign up for one house visit from a contracted plumber.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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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.

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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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Community Water Center

Formed in 2006, the Community Water Center (CWC) is an organization in California’s Central Valley that works to combat water insecurity among frontline communities. 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.

 

 

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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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