CWEA and WEF Co-sign Water Infrastructure Letter to Congress

CWEA along with WEF and several member associations in the water sector recently signed the following Water Infrastructure Letter to Congress in response to Congress urging that water infrastructure funding and financing be included in the expected major infrastructure package:

The undersigned organizations write to urge Congress to include funding and financing for drinking water, wastewater, water reuse and stormwater infrastructure in any infrastructure package considered during the 116th Congress.  Given the well-documented needs of our nation’s aging water infrastructure, an infrastructure package represents an excellent opportunity to provide necessary resources to meet long-term economic, public health and environmental goals.

The U.S. EPA estimates that America’s water and wastewater infrastructure requires more than $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.  Local ratepayers will shoulder much of this burden, but all levels of government must be part of the solution.

Aging infrastructure replacement needs account for much of the investment gap. In addition, federal regulatory requirements over the last three decades have steadily grown to account for a significant portion of the cost associated with investment needs.   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% to 9% since 1977.

America’s future economic strength depends on investments made today in water infrastructure.  These investments create jobs and support the economy. Every $1 invested in water and wastewater infrastructure increases long-term GDP by $6.35, creates 1.6 new jobs, and provides $23.00 in public health-related benefits.  These new jobs in the water sector are also high-paying (~$64,000/year), skilled, and largely recession proof since they’re in municipal government.  Studies also show that the US economy would stand to gain over $200 billion in annual economic activity and 1.3 million jobs over a 10-year period by meeting its current water infrastructure needs. Without these investments, breakdowns in water supply, treatment and wastewater capacity are projected to cost manufacturers and other businesses over $7.5 trillion in lost sales and $4.1 trillion in lost GDP from 2011 to 2040.

In a recent survey of American’s opinions on the value of investing in our water resources, 78% of respondents said it’s “extremely or very important” that the President and Congress develop a plan to rebuild America’s water infrastructure. The same survey found that 88% of respondents agreed that increased federal investment was needed to rebuild water infrastructure.

As Congress develops a comprehensive infrastructure proposal, we urge you to remember that water infrastructure is often co-located with transportation infrastructure, such as roadways and bridges. When roadways are dug up or bridges rebuilt, it would be less expensive to rehabilitate water lines at that point in time instead of digging them up again.

In addition, the cost of water service to low-income customers is an increasing concern and the U.S. Federal contributions to water infrastructure finance help local utilities cushion the costs of water service to customers.

Our nation has faced many challenges over the last two centuries, but through collaboration and perseverance we have found solutions.  Our organizations applaud Congress for its past efforts to take action to address the nation’s infrastructure challenges. We implore you to include water infrastructure as a major component of the infrastructure package in 2019.

Sincerely,

American Council of Engineering Companies

American Membrane Technology Association

American Public Works Association

American Rivers

American Sustainable Business Council

American Water Works Association

Association of California Water Agencies

Associated General Contractors of America

Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies

Association of Regional Water Organizations

Association of State Drinking Water Administrators

California Association of Sanitation Agencies

Central States Water Environment Association

Clean Water Action

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania

Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities

Endangered Habitats League

Freshwater Future

Gulf Restoration Network

Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies

Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited

National Association of Clean Water Agencies

National Association of Sewer Service Companies

National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of our low-income clients

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

Natural Resources Defense Council

Ohio Environmental Council

Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies

Passaic River Coalition

Pennsylvania Water Environment Association

Rural Coalition

Rural Community Assistance Partnership

Sierra Club

Southern California Alliance of Publicly Owned Treatment Works

Southern Environmental Law Center

The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia

Trout Unlimited

US Water Alliance

WE ACT for Environmental Justice

West Coast Infrastructure Exchange

Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association

Water Environment Federation

WateReuse Association

 

CC:      House Energy & Commerce Committee

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

House Ways & Means Committee

Senate Environment & Public Works Committee

Senate Finance Committee

 

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Megan Barillo

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