The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to announce the beneficiaries of the first round of the agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation programme.The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act is an initiative established in 2014 to help cities, municipalities and projects improve their waste water collection and treatment, and water treatment and distribution infrastructure.

However, the initiative has managed to secure $1.5 billion in funding from the government to provide projects with loans.

So far, EPA has shortlisted 12 projects to participate in a phase where they are assessed to see if they meet the organisation’s requirements to secure loans under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

According to Water Online, 43 projects from nine different states submitted their proposals with EPA to secure the low-interests loans.

For instance, the Indiana Finance Authority is seeking $436 million loan to implement $890 million project which includes the provision of loans to cities and municipalities under the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

However, the private sector is expected to play an important role in ensuring projects have enough capital to fund their initiatives. EPA says it forecasts the 12 projects shortlisted will require $1 billion from the private sector to be able to complete their plans.

Water infrastructure finance plans

The news follows the release of a study conducted by Navigant Research on investments being made by US water utilities on smart water infrastructure. According to the report, US water utilities will invest up to $8.3 billion in smart infrastructure over the next decade to modernise water networks and optimise operations.

The survey comprises interviews with 340 water utilities across the country’s 50 states.

More than 80% of survey participants say they have invested or are planning to invest in smart water infrastructure to improve their operational efficiencies.

Smart water infrastructure will help water companies reduce non-revenue water and increase revenue collection through accuracy in water billing, quick detection of water leaks and improvements in the management of water distribution systems.

According to Northeast Group, the water infrastructure in the US is ageing and the majority of utilities are manually operating water distribution networks and billing customers.

On the other hand, factors such as inadequate capital to fund utility projects and suspicion over new technologies hinder the adoption of smart infrastructure technologies in the US water sector. [North Carolina water authority deploys Muller Systems’ AMI network].

 

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