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AWWA/WEF Affordability Symposium in Washington, DC on August 6-7

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) are holding an affordability symposium on August 6-7 in Washington, D.C. The first AWWA/WEF Transformative Issues Symposium is designed to advance the knowledge and understanding of affordability, as the interest in this topic has continued to increase in the past several years. Early registration for this symposium closes on Friday, July 13.

The latest affordability push comes from the National Academy of Public Administration’s 2017 report (Developing a New Framework for Community Affordability of Clean Water Services) which has opened up the discussions to include SDWA considerations as well (noting that in many communities, water and sewer charges are on the same bill, with many water systems conducting billing for both, even if they are separate and distinct entities). This report is the result of a recent Senate Appropriations Committee rider, requiring EPA to engage NAPA to conduct an independent study to create a definition of, and framework for, community affordability of clean water.

Water systems and states should consider how they want to engage with EPA and NAPA as the new report is developed and new affordability metrics and methodologies are evaluated. Each state has adopted their own SDWA affordability criteria for use in the DWSRF program, as well as part of states’ assessments of technical, managerial, and financial capabilities of water systems. This symposium offers one potential engagement opportunity with key stakeholders.