Water system consolidation and partnerships

Based on its potential to address a diverse array of small system challenges from limited capacity, climate-change vulnerabilities, and persistent racial and economic inequalities, water system consolidation, or the merging of two or more previously independent water systems, is increasingly a favored solution among regulators at the local, state, and national levels. California has been among the states leading the charge when it comes to implementing consolidation. In the last seven years California has developed financial incentives for larger water systems to consolidate small systems, introduced new powers to mandate consolidation under specific circumstances, and prioritized consolidation over permitting new water systems among other policy changes. Similar work is now also underway at the federal level where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working on a new water system restructuring rule. Notably, however, there is very little empirical research available to guide these policy interventions let alone assess there effectiveness. 

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