Report shares water-sector views on public-private partnerships

P3s can provide potential advantages for municipal utilities

The “To P3 or Not to P3” report was released last week by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Ernst and Young Infrastructure Advisors LLC. This reportexamines the use of public-private partnerships as an alternative delivery model for the continued safe and uninterrupted supply of water and wastewater services around the country.

With rising repair and replacement costs, P3s offer a performance-based delivery model to shift some risks from the public to private-sector partners “best suited to manage them,” the report noted. 

“Survey results show that municipal utilities are well-informed about options for water infrastructure delivery, and they understand the concept of public-private partnerships,” said Tracy Mehan, AWWA’s executive director of government affairs. “They view P3s as a strategy to bring additional resources, skills and project delivery experience to specific subjects, rather than replacing existing services.”

In Kentucky, companies such as Louisville Water Co.have used partnership model to further its mission of providing quality water to the region and beyond. The company is finishing a water main project to assist Shelbyville Water through a groundbreaking regional solution to expanding drinking water.In 2017, the company also began two wholesale partnerships, with Hardin County Water District 1 and Hardin County Water District No. 2.