Utility leaders, finance professionals connect at second annual Water Finance Conference



For the second straight year, the Water Finance Conference gathered nearly 100 attendees for a discussion around the most critical issue facing the future of water infrastructure in the United States — funding. The two-day event, held Aug. 30-31 at the Denver Athletic Club in Denver, Colo., presented a candid look at funding challenges facing the water/wastewater utility sector.


The second annual Water Finance Conference was held in downtown Denver, Colorado, Aug. 30-31.

The Water Finance Conference is a two-day event aimed at connecting executive-level utility professionals, including directors, superintendents, CEOs and CFOs with consultants, financial advisors, lawyers and service providers involved in financing municipal water, wastewater and stormwater systems. The event is hosted annually by the journal Water Finance & Management, published by Benjamin Media.

The 2016 conference was presented by main event sponsor, Hawksley Consulting, as well as sponsors Echologics, RePipe 4710, Key Equipment Finance, the Colorado Contractors AssociationSprayroq, PVC Pipe Association, Pure TechnologiesWaterSmart Software and Cityworks.


Jason Mumm of main event sponsor Hawksley Consulting addresses attendees at the commencement of the second annual Water Finance Conference in Denver, Aug. 30.

“Our inaugural Water Finance Conference in Cleveland last year was a tremendous success but I think we managed to top it this year in Denver,” said Bernie Krzys, publisher and CEO of Water Finance & Management. “I’d like to thank each of our sponsors for all their support of this unique event. Being from Cleveland, I can tell you there are certainly a different set of challenges affecting the water sector in the West, and I’m proud that we were able to present that angle for our attendees.”

The conference agenda got under way on Tuesday, Aug. 30 with a session centered on funding water projects in the western United States, including Colorado’s Southern Delivery System project, desalination projects in California and a panel discussion on “Regional Cooperation and Planning.”

Networking roundtables also allowed attendees to maximize their experience by participating in group discussions on topics ranging from demand management and crowd financing to equipment finance and legislative action in Washington, D.C.

RELATED: How Colorado Springs Funded Its Landmark Southern Delivery System

Paul Washington - head shot

Keynote Speaker Paul Washington

The day concluded with a reception and keynote address by Paul Washington, director of the Denver Office of Economic Development, who spoke to attendees on “The Evolution of P3s in Denver and Its Impact,” noting the tremendous economic growth in the city in recent years and the city’s common use of public-private partnership projects.

The program continued on Wednesday, Aug. 31 with sessions focusing on both public and private sources of funding. Topics addressed included rate approval processes, public communication, low income affordability, financing an integrated ‘one water’ approach and the future of P3s in water.

Two panel discussions were also held on Day 2 – “Communicating the Value of Water: Rate Setting, Affordability and Investment” and “Bridging the Gap between Private Capital and Public Projects.”

“We are facing complex and costly challenges due to a national water infrastructure system that is aging,” said Michael Deane, executive director of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC), who moderated the private capital/public projects panel. “These challenges will require multiple solutions and unprecedented cooperation between the public and private sector. The Water Finance Conference provides a forum for the industry to move beyond discussing the challenges and start implementing the solutions for financing the water utilities of tomorrow.”


Michael Deane of the National Association of Water Companies moderates a panel on using private capital for public projects.


“The Water Finance Conference provides a forum for the industry to move beyond discussing the challenges and start implementing the solutions for financing the water utilities of tomorrow.”

–Michael Deane, Executive Director, National Association of Water Companies



In addition to its sponsors, organizers of the Water Finance Conference are proud to have the support of several prominent advocacy organizations representing the water and wastewater sectors: The National Association of Water Companies; the National Association of Clean Water Agencies; the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies; the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association; the Special District Association of Colorado; the International Private Water Association; the National Association of Sewer Service Companies; the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships; the South Metro Water Supply Authority; the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition; the Water Finance Research Association; the National Utility Contractors Association; the US Water Alliance; and the Colorado Contractors Association.

Additional information on the Water Finance Conference is available on the conference website.

The Water Finance Conference is presented by Water Finance & Management, a bi-monthly professional journal for executive-level decision makers in the municipal water and wastewater sector, published by Benjamin Media, Inc.

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