Recently, President Obama signed into law the Water Resources and Reform Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA)—the first water bill since 2007. WRRDA authorizes funding for more than $12 billion worth of new water infrastructure projects.
It establishes a five-year pilot program—the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which provides low-interest federal loans and loan guarantees for major water infrastructure projects.
WRRDA also creates the Water Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (P3) Program for the Army Corps of Engineers, a 15-project pilot program that could lead to an increased financing of critical water infrastructure projects through the use of P3s.
While P3s may not be the answer to all water infrastructure projects, the increasing number of P3 projects around the U.S. suggests that the model plays an important role in addressing critical infrastructure needs at times when state and federal funding has diminished.
As communities across the nation continue to face challenges to provide reliable water in the face of aging infrastructure, growing demand and water supply, do you think there should be more private sector engagement in water system operation and management? E-mail us at [email protected] to share your opinion.