Ensuring Access to Clean, Affordable Water

Access to safe and affordable drinking and waste water is a human right, and city leaders must regard it as a priority.

Yet cities and utilities are increasingly faced with a major financial dilemma: increase rates and price out ratepayers, or keep rates the same at the expense of aging infrastructure. At the fulcrum of this choice sits those most vulnerable: low-to-moderate income households, disproportionately made up of women and/or people of color.

In partnership with The Water Center at Penn, we are dedicated to helping mayors, utility leaders, and city staff create affordable, efficient, resilient, and equitable water systems.

Boy drinking from kitchen tap

Water Affordability Academy

The Water Affordability Academy connects utility leaders with some of the country’s most respected utility innovators to help them identify, assess, and establish a path forward on affordability in their community. Currently virtual, the Academy also provides ongoing support after the event to utilities in implementing their affordability plans.

Fall 2021

Fall 2020

Spring 2021

Community of Practice

The Water Affordability Community of Practice spotlights best practices on challenges and solutions related to water affordability. These informal sessions will provide ample time for questions and discussion among peers. The audience for this event is exclusively local utility and city leaders that are striving to provide access to safe and affordable drinking and waste water.  Join our mailing list further below to stay in the loop.

News & Updates

Technical Assistance

In addition to ongoing support for Academy participants, we also work with city leaders across the country in providing them with the connections, tools and resources they need. Examples include:

Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh is at a critical juncture for its water system. We worked with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA), Mayor Peduto’s office, Pittsburgh United and the Heinz Foundation to help PWSA incorporate integrated water management principles as it deals with very serious capital, financial, organizational and quality issues.

Duquesne, PA

Our goal was to directly support the mayor in both managing staff and regional partners to improve infrastructure and update their water systems. We continue to work with them and provide support and expertise.

South Bend, IN

We worked with the City to develop a water affordability program for stormwater, sewer and drinking water fees, as well as the development of a customer assistance program. Learn more here.

Toledo, OH

We helped the utility in the search process for a sustainability coordinator, and we provided them with a policy toolkit on how they can ensure that green infrastructure development does not lead to displacement for its most vulnerable residents. Recommendations include best practices on equitable hiring, incentivizing developers to hire locally, and more.

Technical Assistance for Members

Member cities can request up to three short policy memos per year on the topics that you need the most help with. Additional, in-depth technical assistance may be available depending on grant availability. Learn more.

In Partnership with

The Water Center at the University of Pennsylvania

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