Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA)

This policy brief is for U.S. & Canada Municipal Water Corporate Subscription clients.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bluefield Research

  • Treatment projects are the most common project type among closed loans (29%) and second largest project type (32%) behind supply projects (35%) for pending loans. These projects include construction and upgrades to water and wastewater treatment plants, recycling / reuse, desalination, and PFAS projects.
  • To date, the largest closed WIFIA loan is the city of Portland, Oregon’s US$727 million loan for a new filtration water treatment plant that, upon completion, will ensure compliance with the Long Term Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule and the Lead and Copper Rule.

Exhibit: Closed Loan Amount by Project Scope and Subtype

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bluefield Research

  • Split between water (38%) and wastewater (62%), treatment plant loans total US$6.0 billion, the highest cost of any project subtype. Pipe infrastructure and administrative plans, reflecting utility, city and county-wide objectives for reliability, quality, and resilience, each make up about US$3.5 billion.
  • Specialty treatment methods such as reuse, desalination, and PFAS only make up 12 WIFIA projects thus far; however, these will likely become more commonplace for the WIFIA program, as there is a growing need to address water supply and quality concerns across the U.S. Further, these types of projects tend to have the scale and complexity that warrants WIFIA funding. 
  • Another area addressing supply pressures is source water protection, which has captured about US$1.7 billion in closed loans since 2018. These loans support projects that create alternative supplies and ensure drought resistance, groundwater protection, etc.