As stewards of a vital public resource, PWSA has a responsibility to provide Pittsburgh with reliable, high-quality water services. Through hard work, increased funding, and greater transparency, we’re transforming as a modern organization ready to meet the demands of current and future generations of customers.
Part of this transformation centers around our renewed Mission, Vision and Core Values. Today I’d like to touch on Stewardship and how the work we’re undertaking supports this Core Value.
Over the next five years, we will invest over $300 million in a series of large-scale water improvement projects called the Water Reliability Plan (WRP). The work will involve rehabilitating or replacing some of the large critical components of our water system. When completed, these assets will be the resilient backbone of the water system and will allow us to provide continuous service to all customers, even in the event of unforeseen issues that can impact service. With infrastructure assets of this size and importance, we cannot wait to “fix it when it fails.”
The WRP is one of our most ambitious investments, and like many of our water main and sewer rehabilitation projects, we will aggressively pursue state and federal funding for the work. We’ve applied to the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program for flexible and low-interest loans for 49% of the WRP and await their decision in late 2022 or early 2023. Additionally, we plan to submit a request to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority for the remaining 51%, which we anticipate will be a mix of loan and grant funding.
As a publicly owned and managed utility, using low-interest loans and grants from the government is essential. Over time, they will save our ratepayers millions when compared to funding work through rates and bond financing. And, since every dollar we receive is invested back in the water system we all rely on, it provides flexibility to prioritize and complete other projects, like the ongoing replacement of lead lines, more quickly.