Thursdays, March 18 – April 15, 2-4pm EST/1-3pm CST
Access to affordable clean water is a fundamental human right, especially during times of financial crisis. Yet cities are facing a slew of challenges that make keeping costs low incredibly difficult, from aging water infrastructure to the unpredictable effects of climate change, to an unprecedented global pandemic. This leads to a major dilemma: increase water rates to cover the cost of necessary infrastructure improvements or keep rates static at the expense of long-term system needs. How do cities and their utilities juggle this?
This 5-part workshop series provides local utility leaders with the tools they need to identify, assess, and establish a path forward to make and keep water affordable.
This 5-part series will cover:
- Water Affordability 101: Introductions and the basics of water affordability. Led by Howard Neukrug, Former Commissioner, Philadelphia Water Department & Executive Director, The Water Center at Penn
- Rates & Customer programs: Explore potential water rate and billing options that best fit your city’s needs, and the possibility of implementing a customer assistance program. Led by Joanne Dahme, Former Deputy Commissioner for Communications, Philadelphia Water & Senior Advisor, The Water Center at Penn
- Operational efficiencies: Explore options through technology, data use and management, and investments (such as lights, efficiency pumps, and more) that reduce operational costs. Led by Andy Kricun, Former Executive Director, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority & Senior Advisor, The Water Center at Penn
- Community Engagement & Communications: Identify the best methods and tools to establish positive and transparent relationships with your community, and leave with the best path forward to improve engagement. Led by George Hawkins Esq., former General Manager, DC Water & Founder, Moonshot LLC
- Implementing Your Utility’s Plan: Identify your path forward, including ways that we can continue to support your work. Led by Karl Russek, Director of Programs and Applied Research, The Water Center at Penn
The workshop will take place at 2-3:30 EST, 1-2:30 CST over 5 weeks:
Thursday, March 18
Thursday, March 25
Thursday, April 1
Thursday, April 8
Thursday, April 15
The workshop will be held virtually via Zoom. Participants will receive links to the meeting after registration.
Registration is closed for the Spring Academy – join our mailing list to learn about future opportunities.
While this series is likely more beneficial for public water utilities or city water policy leaders who manage about 20,000 household connections or more, we welcome leaders from smaller utilities as well. Spots are limited. Not sure if you qualify? Please contact us.
Before registering, utilities must commit to the following:
- Each utility should designate one point of contact to participate in the entire workshop series. The person attending should be in a position to lead and manage any affordability planning, however you may invite additional staff to join you for all or part of it as it makes sense.
- Each utility will be required to collect key documents and submit a pre-workshop survey with checklist. Each utility should expect 1 – 3 hours of pre-workshop preparation, depending on how accessible the information is for you. Link to survey with checklist coming soon.
Interested in joining the Academy? Contact us:
Emily Miota, Mayors Innovation Project (email@example.com, 608.263.7958)
Erica DePalma, Water Center at Penn (firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-640-8631)
I participated in the Fall Academy. Can I attend again?
While we have made several updates and revisions to our curriculum, the Spring Academy is intended for new utilities that did not participate this Fall. We invite Fall Academy participants to join the ongoing Community of Practice. Learn more here.
Our city/utility would like to register several people. Can we do that?
Each utility should designate one point of contact to participate in the entire workshop series. The person attending should be in a position to lead and manage any affordability planning, however you may invite additional staff to join you for all or part of it as it makes sense.
What does this cost?
The Academy is free for city/utilities that have an interest in making/keeping water affordable. This work is generously funded by the Mott Foundation and Heinz Endowments.
Senior Advisor, The Water Center at Penn
Joanne most recently served as the Philadelphia Water Department’s Deputy Commissioner for Communications and Engagement. Joanne was responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of programs designed to inform water, wastewater, and stormwater customers. Joanne was dedicated to serving the public and increasing PWD’s credibility and accessibility of services.
Esq., Former General Manager, DC Water
George served as CEO/General Manager of DC Water for 11 years. Since then, he founded Moonshot LLC /Moonshot Missions to help agencies identify and adopt strategies to deliver better service and lower costs. George is accomplished in transforming DC Water into an innovative enterprise by tripling its investment in clean water, being the first to issue a century bond and environmental impact bond, and spearheaded programs to support low-income customers.
Former Executive Director, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority & Senior Advisor, The Water Center at Penn
Andrew currently works with the Water Center at the University of Pennsylvania on various projects related to the Delaware River watershed. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director and Chief Engineer of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority.
Former Commissioner, Philadelphia Water & Executive Director, The Water Center at Penn
Howard Neukrug is the former Commissioner and CEO of Philadelphia Water, where he was responsible for all aspects of utility operations, environmental compliance, engineering, financing, budgeting, capital and strategic planning, customer service, human resources, and legal and policy decisions for its drinking water/wastewater/stormwater system serving 2.3 million people. At Penn, he is the director of the Water Center and teaching courses on the water industry and the role of water in urban sustainability and resiliency. He is also a Principal with CASE Environmental, LLC, where he provides consulting services to cities and utilities in urban planning, systems design, sustainability, organizational development, strategic planning and trends and innovations in the global water industry.
Director of Programs and Applied Research, The Water Center at Penn
Karl Russek has over 25 years of experience in the areas of legacy pollutants, natural resources damage assessment, emerging environmental risks, industry/regulatory interface, and stakeholder management in the United States and globally. He holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Quality Science from the University of Alaska where he focused assessment and restoration of freshwater systems. He most recently founded and managed the international environmental business for a leading global insurer.
This work is generously supported by the Mott Foundation and Heinz Endowments.