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  • From climate change to outdated infrastructure to lack of federal support, city leaders face more pressure than ever to provide affordable and safe water to residents. Mayors and city leaders need the resources to plan for and improve and maintain public water systems. This report outlines concrete actions a city can take to keep control of its water systems and provides a background to understanding the complexity of public water systems and their current challenges. The solutions for managing robust public systems include topics such as: integrating management approaches for water with other goals; engaging the public in conversations about this valuable resource; promoting affordability of water services; among many more.

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  • Access to safe and affordable drinking water is a human right, and it is the duty of the water utility to ensure that this right is protected and upheld. Understanding the different ways water intersects with your city is critical. Basic Water Utility Management provides local leaders with a foundation for understanding their local water systems, including: understanding what a successful water system looks like; getting up to speed on government compliance; identifying infrastructure and maintenance needs; and engaging with community members around water resources.

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  • Even as the scale of needed investment grows, utilities can develop rate structures, impact fees, and new products or services that generate needed revenue fairly. This report is a primer on getting started with financing water systems, including: assessing where the largest costs are incurred and where borrowing is most extensive; understanding your city’s specific water utility structure and financial status; building a relationship with your water utility manager/CEO(s); and reaching out to and growing relationships with community leaders across a range of neighborhoods and interests, and asking questions about needs and water affordability.

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  • Climate change poses a risk to communities and their investments. There is a growing toolbox of measures cities can take to combat climate change. One of these tools, divestment from fossil fuels, is ethical, viable, and a moral imperative. Successful divest/invest strategies are a matter of political will. Steps a city can take: determine if they have funds that should be divested; reinvest the capital moved from fossil fuel stocks to a Green Bank or Revolving Loan Fund; identify what opportunities there are to attract “fossil free” investments to sustainable projects via green bonds or other mechanisms; ensure that any jobs created through this process are quality jobs.

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