Elizabeth Mack Wins William R. "Randy" Boggess Award for Paper of the Year by Journal of American Water Resources Association

April 26, 2022

Elizabeth MackThe Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences congratulates Dr. Elizabeth Mack on winning the William R. "Randy" Boggess Award for the best paper of the year published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). The article entitled "An Experiment in Making Water Affordable: Philadelphia's Tiered Assistance Program (TAP)" appeared in the March 2020 issue of the journal.

The ability to pay for water and wastewater services is a growing issue in the developed world. To this point in time, utilities have helped customers grappling with affordability issues using different types of customer assistance programs (CAPs). Income-based billing approaches differ from CAPs in that bills are structured so as to be affordable for customers at the outset. Recently, the City of Philadelphia implemented an innovative program to work towards resolving the affordability problem in their city using income-based billing. This tiered assistance program, or TAP, structures bills for water, wastewater, and stormwater services to program enrollees' income. Given the innovative nature of the program, this paper describes the rollout of TAP and assesses the impact of the program on customers and utility revenues. The paper closes with a critical assessment of TAP and considerations for utilities evaluating the implementation of similar programs.

The Boggess Award was established by the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) in 1973 to honor the author of the best paper published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association during the previous year. The award was established to honor William R. "Randy" Boggess, a charter member of AWRA, one of the first directors, a past president of the association, a former editor, and an individual who has made significant contributions to the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

Mack serves as the Associate Chair for the Geography Department and is an Associate Professor teaching courses in economic geography. Dr. Mack's research program evaluates the impact of emerging technologies on the development trajectory of regional economies. This research program includes broadband infrastructure deployment policy issues as well as the impacts of broadband on business location. Recently, Dr. Mack's work has also focused on understanding entrepreneurial ecosystems, water affordability, and spatial data uncertainty.