EPA launches Water Infra Finance Centre

Part of the Obama administration’s Build America Investment Initiative, the centre will help the public and private sectors collaborate on improving the country’s water infrastructure.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the launch of the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Centre that will explore public-private partnerships (PPPs; P3s) and innovative financing to modernise the country’s water and wastewater infrastructure.

Like the Build America Transportation Centre that was created last July, the water infrastructure finance centre is part of the Obama administration’s Build America Investment Initiative – a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment by promoting collaboration between the public and private sector, expanding P3s and increasing the use of federal credit programmes.

According to an EPA press release, the centre will serve as a resource for communities, municipal utilities, and private entities as they seek to address water infrastructure needs with limited budgets. According to the agency, the US will need more than $60 billion over the next 20 years to maintain and improve its water infrastructure.

“By modernizing the nation’s infrastructure we can protect our drinking water sources and enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change by avoiding financial and water supply losses from leaking pipes and reducing pollution from sewer overflows and wastewater discharges,” EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said.

In addition to exploring the use of P3s in delivering water infrastructure projects, the centre will also “build on the highly successful State Revolving Fund” and other EPA and federal programmes. It will also explore ways to increase financing of climate-resilient water infrastructure that integrates water efficiency, energy efficiency, water reuse and green infrastructure, the EPA said.