Water Sector Urges Congress to Expand Funding to Address Growing Challenges
WATER WEEK 2023 – CLIMATE RESILIENCE, WATER INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING, AND REGULATING PFAS CHEMICALS TAKE CENTER STAGE DURING ANNUAL WATER SECTOR CAPITOL HILL FLY-IN
Water sector associations urge Congress to expand investments in aging Infrastructure, and appropriate the full authorized funding levels for water, wastewater, stormwater, and water recycling programs for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24).
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over 300 water sector professionals and policy experts, representing associations and public utilities from across the country, will take part in Congressional office visits over the next few days as part of the annual ritual of “Water Week” on Capitol Hill. A large contingent of groups, led by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), The Water Research Foundation (WRF), and the WateReuse Association call on Congress to help address the growing challenges facing the water sector, including increased extreme weather events that are impacting aging water infrastructure, concern over rising costs from Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) regulations, and the need to find faster ways to build equity into systems for delivering drinking water and sanitation.
In a policy brief delivered to Congressional staff, the groups lauded recent investments through the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) but highlighted the critical need for Congress to appropriate the full authorized funding levels for water, wastewater, stormwater, and water recycling programs in FY24. The groups note that more resources are urgently needed ensure that local utilities and their customers have the resources to affordably invest in water infrastructure and meet their federal regulatory obligations.
Adam Krantz, CEO, National Association of Clean Water Agencies said: “Water Week is a critical time for the clean water utility sector to bring our message to Washington. The challenges we face as a sector are many, and while we are appreciative of the recent increased funding we have received from Congress and the Administration, more is needed. Public clean water utilities are anchor institutions in their communities and we need Congress to support us in that critical role. We look forward to meeting with Members of Congress to advocate for our priorities.”
Walter Marlowe, Executive Director, Water Environment Federation said: “Water professionals have important messages to share with Congress about the critical issues facing the water sector, and Water Week brings us together to amplify the impact of our voices. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents in the water sector about aging water infrastructure and resilience, PFAS challenges, workforce development needs, affordability and low-income ratepayer support, and a host of other issues impacting communities nationwide. The unity Water Week attendees demonstrate is advancing the interests and goals of the entire water sector.”
Peter Grevatt, CEO, The Water Research Foundation said: “The Water Research Foundation is excited to join with our partners in welcoming our subscribers and water sector leaders to Washington to focus on bringing the very best science to advance protection of public health and the environment in the communities we serve.”
Patricia L. Sinicropi, JD, Executive Director of the WaterReuse Association said: “Funding water reuse projects nationwide unleashes economic potential, protects our environment, and makes our communities more resilient. We look forward to supporting our members as they share these compelling opportunities with their Members of Congress and the Administration.”
Although the water sector strongly supports efforts to reduce PFAS from entering water systems and the environment, the groups participating in Water Week urge lawmakers to create a true “polluter pays” model for PFAS, where the entities who produced and profited from PFAS pollution bear the necessary liability and costs of its remediation. This includes ensuring drinking water, wastewater, water recycling, and stormwater utilities are exempt from potential federal Superfund liability relating to PFAS cleanups, and instead adopting measures to place those costs on the responsible polluters.
The groups also note that Congress and the Administration must work harder and build greater capacity to assist economically disadvantaged communities with the resources to support economic growth, and urge policymakers to examine ways to restore water funding to previous levels when the federal commitment was nearly triple the current level.
ABOUT THE GROUPS
For over 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation’s recognized leader in legislative, regulatory, legal and communications advocacy on the full spectrum of clean water issues. NACWA represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide. Our unique and growing network strengthens the advocacy voice for the public clean water sector and helps advance policies to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for all. Our vision is to advance sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help to shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. For more information, visit us at www.nacwa.org.
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of more than 30,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Established in 1928, WEF’s mission is to inspire the water community in pursuit of human and environmental well-being. WEF’s goals are to attract and develop a passionate workforce, cultivate a purpose-driven community to sustainably solve water challenges for all, and lead the transformation to the circular water economy.
The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is the leading research organization advancing the science of all water to meet the evolving needs of its subscribers and the water sector. WRF is a nonprofit, educational organization that funds, manages, and publishes research on the technology, operation, and management of drinking water, wastewater, reuse, and stormwater systems—all in pursuit of ensuring water quality and improving water services to the public. For more information, visit www.waterrf.org.
The WateReuse Association is the nation’s only trade association solely dedicated to advancing laws, policy, funding, and public acceptance of recycled water. Our membership includes utilities that recycle water, businesses that support the development of recycled water projects, and consumers of recycled water. Learn more at www.watereuse.org.