(October 30, 2018) - NACWA, the American Water Works Association (AWWA), and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) held a one-day facilitated stakeholder meeting October 29 on the important and ongoing national discussion on water affordability. The meeting, held at Alexandria Renew Enterprises, attracted over thirty individuals representing a variety of stakeholder perspectives including community advocates, consumer advocates, financial experts, environmental groups, and federal regulators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
As a result of a National Academy of Public Administrators (NAPA) report last October, EPA is tasked to take a hard look at the true costs of water affordability for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services – as well as to determine a more appropriate metric than the current 2% median household income (MHI) standard. NACWA, AWWA and WEF are currently working on a joint project to develop recommendations and suggested new approaches that can help EPA’s work to update its affordability guidance documents.
The meeting took a deep dive into the household-level affordability criteria, including a robust discussion on the metrics needed to establish a methodology. As EPA works to develop a revised or new methodology for water affordability across all types of water service, this stakeholder meeting provided a forum for stakeholders to weigh in with their thoughts and perspectives on the water affordability discussion.
NACWA, AWWA and WEF will be considering all the input from the meeting as work continues on the joint affordability project, with a final product expected early in 2019. Anyone with questions about the project can contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulator Affairs & Outreach.