This page brings together many resources focused on capital planning for
drinking water and wastewater utilities. Capital planning often leads to the creation of a Capital
Improvement Plan (CIP) and/or an Asset Management Plan.
Last updated: February 2011
Check this page for occassional updates
(xls file, 430 Kb)
View the 1-page summary of the Capital Planning Reference Guide (pdf, 102 Kb)
What to include in the capital plan is up to the utility. However, a few external factors could influence what a
utility chooses to include in its plan. Funding agencies often require submission of specific information that
can/should be collected in the capital plans, and some even specify the need for an approved CIP or Asset Management Plan.
Likewise, other agencies often require submission of specific information in Reporting Forms that can/should be
collected in the capital plans. Free CIP and Asset Management-creation software have their own requirements.
Finally, there are several "Best Practice Guides" that make recommendations on what to include in capital plans.
This reference guide lists the requirements and recommendations made by many of the sources that
influence what utilities in North Carolina include in their capital plans. Listing all of these sources in one
document provides you with a reference that allows you to quickly compare and assess what you may want to include
in your capital plan, following the recommendations of sources you choose to follow. Although the guide was written
specifically for NC utilities, utilities in other states may also find it useful.
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The following resources provide requirements and recommendations for water and wastewater utility capital planning. While
some of these resources are North Carolina focused, many of the resources can be applied to other states, in particular
the best practices guides. Several of these resources (where applicable) have been summarized and put together into
one Reference Guide, providing you with a listing of each capital plan element that is required or
recommended by these sources. The resources below are organized into:
Best Practices Guides
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) Public Water Supply Section's Capacity Development Program
American Water Works Association (AWWA)
UNC School of Government (SOG) and ICMA
Effective Utility Management
Software and Tools for Capital Planning
Funding Agency Requirements in North Carolina
Applicants to loans and grants administered by funding agencies in North Carolina will find that many of the applications
either require or recommend reporting certain elements that would normally appear in a capital plan. Knowing ahead of time what the
application requires and incorporating these elements into your capital plan will improve your utility's chances of receiving funds.
Other Reporting Forms in North Carolina
Utilities in North Carolina are required to report to various agencies for different reasons. Some of the
elements they report on would normally appear in a capital plan.
To suggest new resources or corrections, please contact Shadi Eskaf.
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It is important for water and wastewater utilities to create, maintain and follow a plan to
invest in their capital assets; whether to rehabilitate, replace or install new assets. Capital infrastructure
costs account for a very large portion of utilities' total costs. Without proper long-term planning, utilities
run the risk of not being able to pay for capital costs when they need to, leading to deterioriting service and,
ultimately, public health risks.
There have been many studies on the capital needs of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure
in the United States, and invariably these needs amount to dozens of billions of dollars. One of these studies is the
much referenced EPA study: "
The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis". External funding (loans,
grants, bonds, etc.) can only cover a portion of these capital needs. Ultimately, the customers of the systems
will be covering the rest (if not all) of the capital needs of their systems. Long-term planning is required
to schedule major infrastructure improvements and spread the capital costs over many years in order to avoid
having to raise rates significantly in any one year to pay for a capital project that was unplanned.