Government

Ask Congress to Include Funding for the Water Utility Sector in Any Major Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package

Water Environment Federation

Please reach out to your Members of Congress and ask that funding for the water utility sector be included in any major coronavirus economic recovery package. 

As you know, it is critical that communities have reliable water infrastructure and dependable service and it is imperative that funding for wastewater and stormwater utilities be included in the aid package.

Specifically, Congress should provide assistance in three specific areas:

  • $4 billion to help low-income and unemployed ratepayers during the coronavirus crisis;
  • $26 billion in aid to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities for steep revenue losses from commercial and industrial clients, and;
  • At least $73 billion in assistance for water infrastructure construction to help stimulate the economy as the nation recovers from the crisis.

The COVID‐19 pandemic underscores the critical importance of clean, safe water in ensuring proper sanitation and hygiene to protect public health. Families, businesses, hospitals and first responders around the country are counting on drinking water and clean water agencies to help save lives and keep people healthy. Utilities are working around the clock to ensure customers have safe and reliable water services while keeping their own essential workforce safe.

The drinking water and clean water sectors are facing major losses in revenue and significant costs for maintaining services to low income and financially vulnerable households during the pandemic. The sector is committed to providing service to all households during the pandemic regardless of ability to pay. But this does not come without cost—and as revenues fall, utilities may face hard decisions regarding how to address shortfalls including potentially delaying planned water infrastructure investments, impacts to staffing, and facing new pressures to raise rates at a time many households can ill‐afford rate increases. As Congress responds to the COVID‐19 crisis, significant funding should be allocated to help offset revenue losses by water and wastewater utilities and to support the continuation of services to all users.

As Congress and the White House continue negotiations on a coronavirus economic recovery package, including support for water infrastructure and the important work wastewater and stormwater utilities are doing in communities would be key to advance the goals of the recovery 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.  A study by The Water Research Foundation in 2014 found that the national economic benefits of increased funding for water infrastructure had a greater job creating return on investment than tax cuts, increased spending on military, and increased retail spending on general merchandise.

Especially because water utilities across the country are doing their part to keep clean, safe, reliable, and affordable water service flowing and actively help slow and reverse the coronavirus outbreak, it is imperative that wastewater and stormwater systems get additional funding assistance from Congress.

Please reach out to your Members of Congress today!

Ask Congress to Include Funding for the Water Utility Sector in Any Major Coronavirus Economic Recovery Package

Water Environment Federation

Please reach out to your Members of Congress and ask that funding for the water utility sector be included in any major coronavirus economic recovery package. 

As you know, it is critical that communities have reliable water infrastructure and dependable service and it is imperative that funding for wastewater and stormwater utilities be included in the aid package.

Specifically, Congress should provide assistance in three specific areas:

  • $4 billion to help low-income and unemployed ratepayers during the coronavirus crisis;
  • $26 billion in aid to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities for steep revenue losses from commercial and industrial clients, and;
  • At least $73 billion in assistance for water infrastructure construction to help stimulate the economy as the nation recovers from the crisis.

The COVID‐19 pandemic underscores the critical importance of clean, safe water in ensuring proper sanitation and hygiene to protect public health. Families, businesses, hospitals and first responders around the country are counting on drinking water and clean water agencies to help save lives and keep people healthy. Utilities are working around the clock to ensure customers have safe and reliable water services while keeping their own essential workforce safe.

The drinking water and clean water sectors are facing major losses in revenue and significant costs for maintaining services to low income and financially vulnerable households during the pandemic. The sector is committed to providing service to all households during the pandemic regardless of ability to pay. But this does not come without cost—and as revenues fall, utilities may face hard decisions regarding how to address shortfalls including potentially delaying planned water infrastructure investments, impacts to staffing, and facing new pressures to raise rates at a time many households can ill‐afford rate increases. As Congress responds to the COVID‐19 crisis, significant funding should be allocated to help offset revenue losses by water and wastewater utilities and to support the continuation of services to all users.

As Congress and the White House continue negotiations on a coronavirus economic recovery package, including support for water infrastructure and the important work wastewater and stormwater utilities are doing in communities would be key to advance the goals of the recovery 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.  A study by The Water Research Foundation in 2014 found that the national economic benefits of increased funding for water infrastructure had a greater job creating return on investment than tax cuts, increased spending on military, and increased retail spending on general merchandise.

Especially because water utilities across the country are doing their part to keep clean, safe, reliable, and affordable water service flowing and actively help slow and reverse the coronavirus outbreak, it is imperative that wastewater and stormwater systems get additional funding assistance from Congress.

Please reach out to your Members of Congress today!