WIRFC Celebrates Its First Birthday

The Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center (WIRFC) hosted a discussion and celebration of its first anniversary on January 14th.  Created as part of the Administration’s Build America initiative, the WIRFC’s mission is to “…identify financing approaches to help communities make better informed decisions for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure that are consistent with local needs.”

ASDWA and several of our water community organization colleagues attended the event that provided a welcome from Jason Miller, Deputy Director of the White House National Economic Council and a keynote presentation from Stan Meiburg, Acting Deputy Administrator for EPA.  Miller spoke of the need to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy.  He noted that only 2% of the nation’s gross domestic product goes to water and wastewater infrastructure — a situation that needs to change in light of the $600 billion need identified by EPA.  Meiburg reminded the audience that every sector of the US economy relies on water and wastewater.  He explained that the WIRFC expects to explore ways to identify and share innovative financing idea.  He went on to outline three principal goals for the Center:  find new money to support public-private partnerships; demonstrate new and more effective ways of leveraging existing financial resources; and give greater attention to small community needs.

The WIRFC also announced the launch of a new effort, WaterCARE, which stands for Water Community Assistance for Resiliency and Excellence.  This initiative is designed to provide financial and technical guidance to water and/or wastewater systems to meet long-term local needs.  Initially, one community from each EPA Region supported by an Environmental Finance Center will receive the grant.  No information is available, as yet, as to how much financial support will be made available.  More information is expected to be shared shortly via a WIRFC press release.  A WaterCARE Communities fact sheet is appended to this article for your review.  General information about WIRFC can be found at www.epa.gov/waterfinancecenter.

Attachment – WaterCARE Communities factsheet_Jan 2016