Innovation helps cities meet budget goals

People like to talk about technology, but there's innovation on the economic side, too.

The following interview with Laurent Auguste, president & CEO of Veolia Water Americas, looks at innovations in water financing that put effective water solutions within reach for many municipalities.

What innovations is Veolia working on?
We've been testing innovative models for cities. In the municipal business, we've been able to offer larger cities an attractive alternative to the traditional operations and maintenance model.

What do you mean an alternative to the traditional O&M model?
We have added an important new model to our municipal offering called Peer Performance Solutions. This model preserves a public workforce and public governance but infuses private-sector expertise. It works by leveraging Veolia's unique global strength to provide innovative, flexible and cost-effective solutions for our clients. We're really excited by this model and it's already delivering results.

What do you mean it's already delivering results? Where?
We've implemented the new Peer Performance Solutions model in two cities so far - in New York City and in Winnipeg, Manitoba, showing that we've been able to take this entirely new model down two very different paths based on the needs of our customers.

In New York City, the Department of Environmental Protection expects to save more than $100 million annually in their operating budget for water and wastewater services. And in Winnipeg, Veolia is helping design long-term, wastewater treatment facilities capital solutions via a public workforce.

How exactly does the Peer Performance Solutions model work?
It enables us to share in risk-and-reward possibilities on an open-book basis. By delivering value through a performance-based contract, our compensation is increased when we generate greater savings. Obviously, this benefits ratepayers and is a strong incentive for us.

We're excited because this model truly helps communities improve services to their citizens. By maintaining a public workforce and securing best-in-class expertise, Veolia is making it easier for decision-makers to make what can sometimes be the politically difficult decision to hire us. We're working to create models that help support cities in difficult economic times so that they can creatively face their growing challenges, and we think this one is a good fit for many cities.

How does Veolia make it work?
The Peer Performance Solutions model works because it brings the best of both worlds. It secures expertise from the private sector while leveraging the municipality's institutional knowledge of its system.

We operate more than 8,500 water and wastewater facilities and systems across the globe, in virtually every type of geography, climate and water condition in the world, ranging from humid New Orleans, La. to arid Ashkelon, Israel. The PPS process creates a municipal utility that can rely on world-class experience and knowledge to become part of a vast network of expertise - all while preserving a public workforce and public governance.

What is Veolia's vision for the future?
We know the world is changing and that cities are facing greater infrastructure challenges than ever before. We view our role as helping cities meet these environmental challenges by providing creative, reliable solutions.

We're focused on continuing to deliver excellent services while challenging ourselves to increase our ability to provide cost efficiency for cities. We make it a priority to build our capacity in environmental technologies and solutions, particularly in areas of energy independence.

To learn more about Veolia, email us or call 312-552-2800

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