By Cynthia Koehler and Amy Weinfurter
WaterNow is excited to announce that applications for our Project Accelerator are now open. The Accelerator offers 250 hours of pro-bono technical assistance to water resource agencies to support innovative, sustainable and equitable water management projects. The Accelerator is open to cities, towns, or special districts responsible for providing drinking water, wastewater, and/or stormwater services.
As Project Accelerator begins its 4th year, WaterNow is trying something new. Past Accelerator rounds have been national in scope with considerable success. We are now seeking to enhance Accelerator benefits by creating regional cohorts of Accelerator Project communities. Our first regional round will take place this fall and focus on Colorado. A national application round will follow this spring.
Many water challenges are regional in nature, and through this regional approach, we hope to not only support individual communities, but to also generate synergies between communities and utilities tackling these complex issues. By focusing on regions that share similar challenges, we can deepen connections across communities, foster knowledge-sharing and collaboration, and open the door to innovative, regional solutions.
As always, the goal of Project Accelerator is to increase a community’s capacity to get sustainable, equitable projects off the ground. The outcome of these projects can vary widely and is scoped to advance each communities’ priorities. In Cheyenne, WY and Evans, CO, we supported the development of water efficient fixture direct installation programs for income-eligible residents. In Summit County, CO, the Accelerator added capacity and brought expertise to the development of a regional outdoor water efficiency program. And in Cleveland, OH, the program is supporting a grassroots program to connect at-risk populations to water and sewer bill assistance.
Depending on each community’s goals, the support provided by Project Accelerator can range from program design and management, to policy and legal analysis, community stakeholder outreach, communications strategy, data analysis, and sustainability expertise. There is an endless list of potential projects, but they all aim to implement sustainable solutions, advance social equity, and foster climate resilience.
To learn more about the program, or to apply, please visit https://waternow.org/our-work/our-work-projects/project-accelerator/, or contact Amy Weinfurter at [email protected].
Image credit: Aerial view of the Colorado River, near Parshall, Colorado in September 2020. Photo by Mitch Tobin, The Water Desk.