Water

CNT’s water policy agenda advances the vision of our Smart Water for Smart Regions initiative to help communities in the Great Lakes states and across the nation deliver water services to homes and businesses more efficiently, effectively, and transparently while sustaining the region’s water resources.

We are currently focused on three policy issues:

  • Water loss: Improve water loss auditing and performance; increase public reporting of leak rates and general infrastructure conditions by water supply utilities
  • Urban flooding: Encourage adoption of improved performance standards and strategies for mapping flood risk, measuring the impacts of urban flooding, and reducing flood damage to homes and businesses
  • Green infrastructure:  Advocate strategies, such as improved financing, for accelerating the implementation of green infrastructure to manage urban stormwater

Our plan is to recommend and support voluntary adoption of improved standards in these three areas by states, counties, municipalities, and utilities, followed by the proposal of model legislation to effect wider and more rapid change.

Program Contact
Hal Sprague, Water Policy Manager

WATER LOSS

Urge improved water loss auditing and subsequent infrastructure upgrades, as well as encourage the adoption of increased public reporting by water supply utilities regarding infrastructure performance. We will use the results of our Water Loss Control Survey to work with our partner organizations American Water Works Association, Alliance for Water Efficiency, and the Great Lakes Commission, as well as Great Lakes states’ utilities, to promote the voluntary adoption of best practices in water loss auditing, asset management, and public reporting.

URBAN FLOODING

Urge adoption of performance standards and strategies for mapping urban flood risk, measuring the impacts of urban flooding, and reducing flood damage to homes and business. Using the results of our Urban Flooding Survey, CNT will work with partner organizations to identify effective methodologies for collecting and aggregating flood risk and cost data for flood damage. This information will help us advocate cost-effective flood alleviation policies, practices, and financing strategies that can be standardized and replicated for flood programs across the Great Lakes region and the country.

Establish Strong Stormwater Performance Standards with Illinois EPA. CNT will participate on an Illinois EPA advisory committee to establish statewide stormwater performance standards that encourage or require the use of green infrastructure.

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

Urge adoption of green infrastructure portfolio standards in federal and state policies. Having successfully piloted green infrastructure portfolio standards (GIPS) in Milwaukee and Grand Rapids, CNT will be working with the Water Environment Federation and U.S. EPA to test and refine municipal scale green infrastructure portfolio standard programs in several Great Lakes cities under a variety of conditions, including combined and separated sewer systems.

Shape strong stormwater regulations at federal and state levels. CNT is working closely with both U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA to shape their new stormwater regulations. The new federal regulations are expected to expand existing permit rules to cover more land and activities. Both sets of regulations will include stormwater retention performance standards for development to reduce stormwater runoff volume and pollutants and encourage or require the use of green infrastructure to meet these standards.

Recommend that more funding for green infrastructure be provided by U.S. EPA and states. CNT is working with EPA and Great Lakes states to maintain and increase the funding provided for cost-effective green infrastructure projects through the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. We actively support federal legislation that increases the opportunity for private funding of water and sewage facilities, as well as state legislation that provides additional tools to municipalities and counties for funding stormwater management programs and encourages the use of green infrastructure.

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