Paying for Water and Sanitation: Utility Structures in Germany
Over the coming years, a trillion dollars worth of investment in water and sanitation infrastructure is needed in the United States of America. It is not clear how such investment can be financed, and those responsible in the USA are looking for institutional and organisational solutions. To this end, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and other held a conference on "Paying for Sustainable Water Infrastructure" in Atlanta, Georgia, on 21-23 March 2007. R. Andreas Kraemer presented the municipal structures for water supply and sewerage in Germany.
The connection rates, the quality of services, and the level of cost recovery for water supply and sewerage (sanitation) in Germany are all relatively high. However, the cost of water services to the connected inhabitants and households, the total bills per year, are no higher even lower than in comparable countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Austria, or the Netherlands.
On 17 April 2007, a transatlantic Ecologic Dinner Dialogue was held in Berlin in honour of Jay Benforado, Director of the National Center for Environmental Innovation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Throughout his talk, Jay Benforado discussed the financing of water infrastructure in the US, needed investments over the next 20 years and - as he put it himself - the search for an answer to the trillion dollar question: „How to finance 50% of the investments needed, which are currently not covered by revenues."