The results of our 2022 State of Public Sector GSI report were crystal clear about these two things: (1) At 10 percent, expenditures on GSI pale in comparison to other outlays to manage stormwater and; (2) most jurisdictions are challenged to fund GSI maintenance. This latter finding helps to explain why expenditures are relatively low and presents a barrier to the Exchange’s mission of fostering more equitable GSI implementation across North America.
But we also know from the report that a modest number of respondents have worked with their state governments successfully to be able to use Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) resources and even bonds to pay for maintenance for the three to five years it takes for plants to become established, thus easing the maintenance burden. This has been a significant lever for these jurisdictions in bringing GSI to scale.
This strategy was the subject of a webinar hosted by the WaterNow Alliance, where I discussed The State of Public Sector GSI, 2022 and Caroline Koch (WaterNow) and Stephanie Vo (EPIC) discussed a report they co-authored, entitled: Navigating Green Infrastructure Maintenance with Capitalized Establishment Costs. Exchange member Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District through its Senior Project Planner, Lisa Sasso, and Greenprint Partners, also participated, explaining how the strategy is playing out in Milwaukee.
Among the important recommendations that the report offers is that local governments should engage with SRF administrators about potential GSI projects. This is key to state administrators gaining an understanding of how maintenance costs can be capitalized and thus deemed eligible as SRF expenses.