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CIFA Workshop Covers Everything from Nuts & Bolts to What’s Next in Water Infrastructure

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On November 5-7, ASDWA attended the annual Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities (CIFA) SRF Workshop held in Albuquerque, NM.  The Workshop focused on existing and new strategies and tools available to state CWSRF and DWSRF staff as they work with their borrowers to support public health and the environment through infrastructure improvements.

After a warm welcome from CIFA’s President, Jeff Freeman of the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority, EPA Division Directors Peter Grevatt (OGWDW) and Andrew Sawyers (OWM) offered highlights from their respective programs.  Grevatt reminded participants that 2022 will be the 25th anniversary of the DWSRF.  In looking back, he noted that in just 20 years (1997-2017), the DWSRF had taken $19 billion in Federal dollars and turned it into $35 billion in spending for drinking water communities.  Also, the unique setaside provisions had touched more than 78 million Americans.  Sawyers spoke to the fact that the CWSRF’s success relies on several key factors:  technology, workforce, leveraging, partnerships, and using lifecycle and asset management as funding strategies.

Concurrent workshop sessions covered topics such as successful strategies for funding innovative projects (nutrient reduction partnerships), developing the next generation water workforce (apprenticeships, changing operator mindsets from reactive to proactive operating modes), and the challenges and rewards of being a ‘matchmaker’ (mergers and acquisitions using creative incentives – successes and failures). Several states also discussed how they are using the SRFs to tackle contemporary issues such as harmful algal blooms, PFAS testing and treatment, and lead testing and service line replacement.

CIFA plans to post presentations from the Workshop on their website at www.cifanet.org within the next few weeks.