Clean, safe drinking water is the basis of life and essential for the future of our nation. At United Water, we’re proud to lead by example in providing safe drinking water and protecting the nation’s waterways since1869. Our relationships save clients hundreds of millions of dollars, bring multiple systems into compliance and ensure a safe supply of water for generations.
No commodity is more precious, but the infrastructure to support water delivery and recovery is in serious need of repair - $263 billion according to one EPA estimate. Federal funding can help, but it’s not a complete solution.
An alliance between the public and private sectors is one of the most efficient and cost-effective options ways to provide safe water reliably in the face of aging infrastructure, growing demand and the increasing complexity of water management.
Nearly 73 million Americans receive water services from a privately owned water utility or a municipal utility operating under a public-private partnership.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are contractual arrangements that enable municipalities to outsource the management and operation of their water and wastewater systems. Risks, rewards and resources are shared, providing greater efficiency, better access to capital and improved compliance with stringent governmental oversight.
A Win-Win Proposition
With a PPP, companies generate revenue by reaching performance goals and upgrading technology to the existing infrastructure. Local governments retain complete ownership, hold all permits and receive all user fees. All contracts include provisions for strict regulatory compliance and monitoring – ensuring responsible stewardship of the public’s resources.
According to the EPA:
• Nearly half of all water systems in the U.S., 24,290, are privately owned;
• 1,343 have shared ownership; and
• Most of the rest belong to local governments.
A Proven Track Record
Federal agencies — including the EPA, the Department of Defense and the VA — already employ PPPs and the number of governments using PPPs is even greater. The average American city works with private partners to perform 23 out of 65 basic municipal services (National League of Cities )
Today, approximately 2,000 government entities provide water and/or wastewater service through a PPP to their communities. The vast majority of public clients are satisfied with their private water partners, evidenced by a contract renewal rate exceeding 90 percent.
Governments typically realize cost savings of 20 to 50 percent when the private-sector is involved in providing services, offering the public a greater return on their tax dollars.
An Array of Advantages
A successful public-private partnership unleashes a host of important benefits, including:
• Shared Risk
• Efficiency and quality
• Environmental stewardship
• Knowledge and experience
• Innovative solutions
• Capital infusion
• Employee benefits