Stormwater Funding and Strategy Portfolio
Through our work with municipalities, watershed collaboratives, and regulators over the last dozen years, we have developed a portfolio of performance-driven strategies and funding structures. Even the most familiar strategies have a unique twist: they use performance feedback to align incentives and consciously influence behaviors. Using these strategies results in access to previously untapped funding sources and partnerships. The diagram below shows a selection of strategies grouped by the mechanisms that make each strategy effective.
Increase Stormwater Funding and Effectiveness – Reducing the total cost of achieving water quality and community goals benefits all stakeholders. This can be achieved through performance management systems that increase the amount of benefit per dollar spent, and by securing additional public funds to fuel a higher level of activity. For example, results of the Cost-Benefit Analysis for San Diego identified a strategy that was 20 times more cost-effective than previously planned strategies.
Engage Partners to Implement Improvements – Coordination with partners can decrease the total cost of achieving stormwater goals through efficiency. Cost distribution strategies engage parties other than the stormwater department to take on responsibilities and costs for achieving water quality and community goals. In Lake Tahoe, TMDL cooperation enabled permittees to share credits from regional projects, increasing compliance efficiency.
Leverage the Private Sector – Engaging private actors to implement water quality improvements can rapidly increase the pace of progress while limiting use of municipal staff time. In exchange for potential returns, these private actors are also willing to take on project execution risk, limiting or eliminating the risk of public funds being spent on projects that perform lower than expectations. In the case of alternative compliance programs, private actors can generate water quality credits to sell to developers struggling to meet post-construction requirements.
Alone or in combination, these strategies can improve the performance of any stormwater program. By understanding the local regulatory context and public and private partnership opportunities, stormwater programs can select the right strategies to meet their water quality and community goals.
This is a challenging and exciting time. We look forward to working with stormwater managers to unleash the potential that strategic partnerships, process improvements, and new sources of funding hold. The concepts in this blog are discussed in greater detail in our Stormwater Funding and Strategy Portfolio White Paper, contact our water team to request an advance copy. We will also be delving further into each strategy on our blog in the coming months. Stay tuned!