Publication | June 21, 2021

At Risk: Public Supply Well Vulnerability Under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Community water systems in California’s San Joaquin Valley face a host of challenges that threaten the safety and reliability of drinking water, including pollution, periodic drought, and chronic groundwater overdraft. Moreover, shallow wells, some of which serve community water systems, are vulnerable to short-term and chronic declines in groundwater levels. For example, during the 2012-2016 drought, many domestic wells and some public supply wells went dry. 

Publication | June 8, 2021

Stacked Incentives: Co-Funding Water Customer Incentive Programs

Water utilities throughout the United States offer customer incentives to motivate action and foster engagement with their customers. These incentive programs can take many forms, from rebates for high-efficiency fixtures and appliances to technical assistance for installing cisterns and rain gardens.

Blog | May 13, 2021

The Impacts of the Pandemic Remain for Small Water Systems and Customers In-Debt

In the U.S., the vital responsibility of continuing safe water supply during the pandemic is decentralized, spread among nearly 50,000 community water systems. More than 45,000 of these are small community water systems (SCWS), serving fewer than 10,000 people each. Together, SCWS provide water to more than 53 million people — 18 percent of the national population — across urban and rural areas, on tribal reservations, in the midst of larger utilities in huge metropolises, and in growing communities.

Publication | May 13, 2021

Customer Debt and Declining Revenues: The Financial Impacts of COVID-19 on Small Community Water Systems

More than 45,000 small community water systems exist in the United States. These small community water systems, defined as those serving fewer than 10,000 people, are distributed across the country. Altogether they serve 53 million people across rural and urban settings, on Tribal reservations, in the midst of huge metropolises, and in growing communities.

Blog | March 9, 2021

Implications of California’s Water Futures Market 

In California’s Water Futures Market: Explained, Cora Kammeyer describes how futures markets operate generally and the particulars of California’s version. This new water futures market has attracted considerable attention and hyperbole. Here we explore the potential implications of this novel financial tool through the lens of California water supply reliability. 

Publication | March 4, 2021

Benefit Accounting of Nature-Based Solutions for Watersheds: Guide

Nature-based solutions use or mimic natural processes to meet societal and environmental needs. They can be used to restore, manage, or protect water resources while also increasing biodiversity and providing additional social and economic benefits. Yet there is no standardized method to identify, estimate, and monitor the benefits that nature-based solutions can provide, making it hard to build the case for investments in these solutions.

Blog | January 22, 2021

The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Continued Toll on Drinking Water Systems and Their Customers

Water systems across the country are facing budget shortfalls as a result of the pandemic and need assistance. For small water systems (systems serving 10,000 people or fewer) total budget shortfalls are estimated to be $4 to 6 billion, primarily caused by decreased demand, delayed payments, and additional costs for protective equipment and sick time.

Publication | October 22, 2020

Financing Water Supply and Sanitation in a Changing Climate

Human-caused climate change is real and accelerating, creating new challenges for all aspects of freshwater management, including meeting basic human needs for water and sanitation. Important gaps in our understanding of these challenges include both the complications climate change poses for planning, implementing, and sustaining water supply and sanitation systems, especially for the poor; and the links between these systems and the emissions of greenhouse gases that worsen the overall climate problem.