Civilrights

Support Water Initiatives in Infrastructure Planning

Please reach out to your Members of Congress to urge strong support for increased funding for water infrastructure in the forthcoming major infrastructure legislative package.

Water infrastructure impacts all Americans, as it protects public health and the environment and drives the economy. In fact, closing the investment gap in water infrastructure would generate more than $220 billion in annual economic activity and generate 1.3 million jobs over 10 years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that America’s water and wastewater infrastructure requires nearly $750 billion worth of investment over the next 20 years just to maintain current levels of service, and independent estimates place this figure over $1 trillion. Aging infrastructure replacement needs and required system upgrades to meet federal regulatory compliance obligations account for much of the investment gap. While federal contributions to transportation infrastructure have stayed constant at approximately half of total capital spending, federal investment in water infrastructure has declined from 63 percent in 1977 to 5 percent today.

In a 2019 Value of Water Campaign survey of Americans' opinions on the value of investing in water resources, 78 percent of respondents said it’s “extremely or very important” that the Administration and Congress develop a plan to rebuild America’s water infrastructure. The same survey found that 88 percent of respondents agreed that increased federal investment was needed to rebuild water infrastructure.

In the expected infrastructure package, Congress should maintain essential funding for core water infrastructure and support an expanded role of federal agencies in ensuring funding for clean and reliable water. The importance of safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater service during the Covid-19 crisis further highlights how critical it is for there to be robust funding to help communities address the challenges of aging water infrastructure.

Specifically, Congress should include in the infrastructure package:

  • Reauthorization of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) to at least $40 billion over 5 years. Additionally, authorize more preferential loan terms and use of Clean Water SRF funds for asset management plans and project design. 
  • Reauthorization of the Water Infrastructure Financing & Innovation Act (WIFIA) at $55 million per year. 
  • Reauthorize the new EPA Overflow Control and Stormwater Municipal Reuse Grant (OSG) Program at $2 billion over 5 years. 
  • Restore Build America Bonds, lift the volume cap for water Private Activity Bonds, restore advanced refunding for tax exempt municipal bonds, and other changes to increase public and private capital for water infrastructure.

It is also critical that the infrastructure package: 

  • build resilient water infrastructure so communities can withstand the impacts of climate change, including severe storms, flooding, drought, and sea level rise;
  • enable increased innovation in the water sector, such as water reuse, energy generation, and nutrient recovery; and
  • promote workforce development to deal with labor shortages and pending retirement boom through training, internship, apprenticeship, and career pathway programs.

In conclusion, cost-effective infrastructure repair and replacement can have an enormous impact on the quality of life for communities across the U.S., particularly as our nation strives to recover from the public health and economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis.

Congress needs to include robust funding for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure in the forthcoming water infrastructure package.

Please ask your Members of Congress to ensure that ALL communities have safe and reliable water infrastructure.

Support Water Initiatives in Infrastructure Planning

Please reach out to your Members of Congress to urge strong support for increased funding for water infrastructure in the forthcoming major infrastructure legislative package.

Water infrastructure impacts all Americans, as it protects public health and the environment and drives the economy. In fact, closing the investment gap in water infrastructure would generate more than $220 billion in annual economic activity and generate 1.3 million jobs over 10 years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that America’s water and wastewater infrastructure requires nearly $750 billion worth of investment over the next 20 years just to maintain current levels of service, and independent estimates place this figure over $1 trillion. Aging infrastructure replacement needs and required system upgrades to meet federal regulatory compliance obligations account for much of the investment gap. While federal contributions to transportation infrastructure have stayed constant at approximately half of total capital spending, federal investment in water infrastructure has declined from 63 percent in 1977 to 5 percent today.

In a 2019 Value of Water Campaign survey of Americans' opinions on the value of investing in water resources, 78 percent of respondents said it’s “extremely or very important” that the Administration and Congress develop a plan to rebuild America’s water infrastructure. The same survey found that 88 percent of respondents agreed that increased federal investment was needed to rebuild water infrastructure.

In the expected infrastructure package, Congress should maintain essential funding for core water infrastructure and support an expanded role of federal agencies in ensuring funding for clean and reliable water. The importance of safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater service during the Covid-19 crisis further highlights how critical it is for there to be robust funding to help communities address the challenges of aging water infrastructure.

Specifically, Congress should include in the infrastructure package:

  • Reauthorization of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) to at least $40 billion over 5 years. Additionally, authorize more preferential loan terms and use of Clean Water SRF funds for asset management plans and project design. 
  • Reauthorization of the Water Infrastructure Financing & Innovation Act (WIFIA) at $55 million per year. 
  • Reauthorize the new EPA Overflow Control and Stormwater Municipal Reuse Grant (OSG) Program at $2 billion over 5 years. 
  • Restore Build America Bonds, lift the volume cap for water Private Activity Bonds, restore advanced refunding for tax exempt municipal bonds, and other changes to increase public and private capital for water infrastructure.

It is also critical that the infrastructure package: 

  • build resilient water infrastructure so communities can withstand the impacts of climate change, including severe storms, flooding, drought, and sea level rise;
  • enable increased innovation in the water sector, such as water reuse, energy generation, and nutrient recovery; and
  • promote workforce development to deal with labor shortages and pending retirement boom through training, internship, apprenticeship, and career pathway programs.

In conclusion, cost-effective infrastructure repair and replacement can have an enormous impact on the quality of life for communities across the U.S., particularly as our nation strives to recover from the public health and economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis.

Congress needs to include robust funding for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure in the forthcoming water infrastructure package.

Please ask your Members of Congress to ensure that ALL communities have safe and reliable water infrastructure.