Jan 16, 2015

EPA to Launch Water Finance Center

The Water Finance Center is part of the Obama administration's Build America Investment Initiative

EPA Build America Investment Initiative Obama Water Finance Center

The Obama administration announced on Jan. 16, 2015 new steps federal agencies are taking to bring private sector capital and expertise to bear on improving U.S. roads, bridges and broadband networks. These steps are part of the Build America Investment Initiative launched in July 2014, which called on federal agencies to find new ways to increase investment in these projects by facilitating partnerships between federal, state and local governments and private sector investors.

Among these new initiatives is the new Water Finance Center at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), designed to help local and state governments access federal loan and grant programs to get more projects off the ground.

The Water Finance Center at EPA is designed to help address more than $600 billion in needs for drinking water and wastewater management over the next 20 years. The center will work closely with municipal and state governments, utilities and private sector partners to use federal grants to attract more private capital into projects and promote models of public-private collaboration that can address the real needs of cities and towns to provide safe water, rebuild sewer systems and keep streams and rivers clean.

The Water Finance Center will stimulate private investment and make federal dollars go further. Around the country, towns, cities and states are exploring how to bring innovative financial tools such as public private partnerships to the water sector to get more projects off the ground. The new center will help interested local and state governments to bring private sector investment and expertise into water system construction and management. Among other roles, the center will bring together investors and project sponsors; highlight promising deals; provide peer-to-peer learning and workshops; and develop case studies and toolkits. The center will work with states to maximize the benefits of more than $3 billion in annual federal water investments.

The center will also help attract investment to small communities. Many rural communities are served by small water utilities that lack the resources to explore financing alternatives, engage the private sector and attract investment. The new Water Center will work with on-the-ground partners to provide financial training and technical assistance to small communities and rural water systems.