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Presents solutions to water infrastructure financing needs
The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) testified before Congress about financing solutions that will increase the nation’s investment in water and wastewater infrastructure. NAWC is the voice of the private water service industry that provides more than 73 million Americans this essential service every day – nearly a quarter of our country’s population.
Jeffry Sterba, president and CEO of American Water Works Company, NAWC’s largest member, spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment during a hearing entitled “A Review of Innovative Financing Approaches for Community Water Infrastructure Projects.” Sterba presented four viable solutions that will help public and private water service providers work together to repair and replace aging water and wastewater systems. As the nation’s water infrastructure needs continue to grow, traditional sources of investment funds are strained and it is increasingly important for public water utilities to tap additional financing, including private capital.
“I am pleased to present actions we can take together as a nation to unleash more tools for the financing toolbox, through innovation and by embracing the powerful combination of public service and private enterprise to build the water infrastructure our communities need to thrive and to be healthy,” said Sterba.
Substantial private capital is already at work in water. NAWC estimates that its six largest members together are investing around $2 billion each year in their systems, which is significant with the total federal appropriation for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs for the current fiscal year at approximately $2.4 billion.
At a time when it is all too easy for various groups and the media to just focus on the ‘doom and gloom’ of the nation’s water infrastructure spending gap and the funding levels of particular programs, NAWC’s Executive Director Michael Deane applauds the committee for the emphasis it places on examining the impediments to the local implementation of innovative mechanisms that increase investment and improve the overall fiscal health of communities.
“When discussing the needs of the water and wastewater systems, we need to agree that any distinction between public and private operations, any argument over the inherent virtue of public or private capital, any such demagoguery is not only meaningless – it is harmful,” said Deane. “Our sole driving objective should be to provide the maximum amount of flexibility to deliver the most cost-effective and sustainable solutions for our nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure systems. And right now our nation needs as many tools in its financing toolbox as we can develop.”