Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center’s Community Sustainability Tool is a user-friendly planning resource that helps municipalities, states, and other organizations assess if their community’s water/wastewater rates can potentially support infrastructure investments into the future. Learn more about WSU’s Community Sustainability Tool by visiting www.wichita.edu/communitysustainabilitytool.

Many communities throughout the country are faced with difficult decisions about updating or replacing their aging drinking water and wastewater utility infrastructure to continue to provide their customers with compliant, safe drinking water and sewage treatment processes. These investments are expensive and take careful planning by community decision makers.

WSU’s Community Sustainability Tool uses a combination of user data and program-generated forecasts to broadly predict the future average water bill needed to sustain utility investments. The tool also shows the ability to sustain infrastructure investments in relation to the community’s forecasted median household income. The tool can be used as a decision-making guide for further investigation into a community’s proposed water utility infrastructure investments.

“The Community Sustainability Tool is a planning resource for community leaders, mayors, public works directors and even citizens. When it is time to upgrade or improve water or wastewater infrastructure, this tool can help communities understand their ability to pay for these large investments over time.” said Tonya Bronleewe, Director of the Environmental Finance Center.  “One of the biggest benefits of this tool is that the calculations are targeted to each community, since no two communities are the same.”

The free, interactive tool is currently released for communities in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. Users can access the Community Sustainability Tool online, or the Microsoft Excel version of the tool may be downloaded, which allows users to operate the tool offline and save different scenarios.

This project was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 under assistance agreement #AI97756601. The contents of this press release do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does the EPA endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned.

 

 

About Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center

The WSU Environmental Finance Center (EFC) is one of 10 Environmental Finance Centers located across the country that provide communities with professional training, technical assistance and applied research to bolster efforts to manage the costs of environmental protection for the public.

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Contact: Brian Bohnsack Ph.D., Program Manager, Environmental Finance Center, Wichita State University, brian.bohnsack@wichita.edu