CWSRF Green Project Reserve


Federal appropriation laws require State CWSRFs to allocate a percentage of their capitalization grant, currently not less than 10 percent, for projects to address green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements, or other environmentally innovative activities.  These four categories of projects are the components of the Green Project Reserve (GPR).

EPA’s guidance on GPR summarizes “Congress’ intent in enacting the GPR is to direct State investment practices in the water sector to guide funding toward projects that utilize green or soft-path practices to complement and augment hard or gray infrastructure, adopt practices that reduce the environmental footprint of water and wastewater treatment, collection, and distribution, help utilities adapt to climate change, enhance water and energy conservation, adopt more sustainable solutions to wet weather flows, and promote innovative approaches to water management problems. Over time, GPR projects could enable utilities to take savings derived from reducing water losses and energy consumption, and use them for public health and environmental enhancement projects. Additionally, EPA expects that green projects will help the water sector improve the quality of water services without putting additional strain on the energy grid, and by reducing the volume of water lost every year.”

EPA Definitions of the four categories of GPR

  • Green Infrastructure - Green stormwater infrastructure includes a wide array of practices at multiple scales that manage wet weather and that maintain and restore natural hydrology by infiltrating, evapotranspiring and harvesting and using stormwater. On a regional scale, green infrastructure is the preservation and restoration of natural landscape features, such as forests, floodplains and wetlands, coupled with policies such as infill and redevelopment that reduce overall imperviousness in a watershed. On the local scale green infrastructure consists of site- and neighborhood-specific practices, such as bioretention, trees, green roofs, permeable pavements and cisterns.
  • Water Efficiency - The use of improved technologies and practices to deliver equal or better services with less water. Water efficiency encompasses conservation and reuse efforts, as well as water loss reduction and prevention, to protect water resources for the future.
  • Energy Efficiency - The use of improved technologies and practices to reduce the energy consumption of water quality projects, use energy in a more efficient way, and/or produce/utilize renewable energy
  • Environmentally Innovative Activities - Projects that demonstrate new and/or innovative approaches to delivering services or managing water resources in a more sustainable way.

More information and guidance on Green Project Reserve: EPA GPR Guidance for the CWSRF.

EPA’s guidance identifies projects that would be considered “categorically” eligible as GPR.  Other projects that meet certain GPR criteria might still qualify, however they would require the development of a “business case” to justify that it qualifies as a GPR project. Section 5 of EPA GPR Guidance sets forth the requirements for developing a business case for State review and approval. As part of the approval process, States are required to post approved business cases on a website so that they are available to the public. Business cases that have been approved by the State for the GPR are: