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One of the biggest management challenges facing water and wastewater utilities today is the need for more funding to meet current and anticipated infrastructure expenditures. The forces driving the need for increasing expenditures are new regulations for enhancing and protecting water quality and the need to replace or rehabilitate decaying infrastructure.

The need for increased revenue to properly fund utility maintenance and upgrades, in addition to the changing role of the utility in many communities has fostered greater political participation and demands for more input in utility policies and practices from interested stakeholders. Increased participation affects the way utilities are managed and who is selected to lead them.

The political environment in which some utilities find themselves can be hostile and antagonistic. This paper explores, through discussions of current issues and anecdotes from utility executives, the role of politics in utility management, why utility management is becoming more political in some communities, and possible means of managing political influences.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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