Topic: Water utility modeling that analyzes revenue stability and incorporates capital investments, focused on identifying utility business models that encourage sustainable water use while also being fiscally sustainable for the utility
Start Date: Immediately
Duration: Full-time, one-year position, with extension planned
Water scarcity coupled with increasing population growth, increasing water demand, and declining infrastructure systems pose a threat to both the people of Texas and the vital freshwater inflow needed to feed sensitive bays and estuaries along the Gulf Coast. In order to increase water use efficiency in urban areas and enhance conservation of limited freshwater resources, many stakeholders are now considering fundamental changes in water management, including transitioning to integrated urban water management (IUWM) approaches such as One Water.'
Boston University's Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) is engaged in a multi-year project funded by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation with the goal of assessing how siloed municipal water agencies in the state of Texas can transition to an IUWM model in order to increase water use efficiency in urban environments, revitalize aging infrastructure, and preserve freshwater inflow to the major bays and estuaries along the Texas Gulf Coast. ISE's work is focused on integrated water utility financial modeling, and the model results will be used to establish recommendations of viable pathways to move to IUWM in Texas.
About the Institute for Sustainable Energy
The Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) is a university-wide center dedicated to facilitating the transition to a sustainable, climate-safe global energy system. Through interdisciplinary research, policy analysis, and collaborative engagement, our mission is to ensure that the energy systems of the world provide abundant, sustainable, and universally accessible energy services to both emerging and advanced economies. This enormous challenge will require new technologies and energy processes, new forms of financing and financial institutions, new policy approaches, and new forms of public governance, and new companies, industries, and markets. Our work spans all of the disciplines, departments, and colleges at BU and involves many partnerships with other researchers, policymakers, and industry. Core work areas comprise defining pathways to becoming the utility of the future in both the electric and water sectors, with a common theme of moving towards a business model based on electricity/water efficiency; emissions reduction in transportation; and city climate modeling.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Research Fellow will lead the development modeling work that builds on existing utility revenue models and incorporates analysis of maintaining revenue stability with capital investments factored in. The expanded model will incorporate key aspects of the One Water framework such as reuse, distributed water treatment and low impact development, and demand projection.
An expanded model will be a toolbox for utilities, providing analysis of different revenue and cost trajectories based on different urban water management strategies including some that typically fall outside today's utility framework. This can be a practical tool that supports effective implementation of integrated urban water management.
Specific responsibilities include:
Develop an analytical framework that enables assessment of various water utility business models based on the cost and revenue opportunities associated with holistic management of multiple types of water, including potable, graywater, blackwater, and stormwater.
Guide modeling work that enables quantitative analysis of an appropriate set of case studies representing different scenarios.
Produce, edit, and review technical reports, briefs, and presentations on modeling research.
Build strong relationships with key practitioners and stakeholders in the water industry in Texas and beyond.
Support communications with a National Advisory Committee associated with this project, and with the funder.
Pursue new project opportunities relating to water management and utility of the future.
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