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NACWA, WEF & ACWA outline plan for the future of water quality
The National Assn. of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and the Assn. of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) along with local utilities and others in the clean water community came together to celebrate 40 years of accomplishments under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and to call for a new vision to ensure further water quality progress.
Representatives of the three organizations agreed that the CWA has led to vastly improved water quality and community and economic vitality in the United States, and discussed even greater financial, environmental and sustainability challenges that lie ahead. The executive directors shared their organizations’ unique take on the future of the CWA:
“We should be proud of the accomplishments we’ve made under the Clean Water Act,” said Ken Kirk, executive director of NACWA. “But to achieve the next level of water quality progress utilities need to be able to prioritize their efforts to achieve the greatest environmental return for the money invested. The federal government must also continue to be a full, long-term partner in meeting the growing costs of CWA compliance and infrastructure maintenance and repair.”
“WEF is committed to working with our partners, EPA and other stakeholders to develop and promote recommendations for ‘modernizing’ the Clean Water Act. We need both the funding and the flexibility in order to protect future public health, create jobs, and support a sound national economy," said Jeff Eger, executive director, WEF.
“As we look to the future, we need to support states and interstates, so that they can carry out effective programs in collaboration with EPA and all stakeholders—and move us closer to achieving our nation’s water quality goals,” said Alexandra Dunn, executive director and General Counsel of ACWA.
Although the organizations offered different perspectives, all agreed that there needs to be a new vision for clean water in the United States to ensure continued improvements through 2020 and beyond.
Speakers at the October 15 also included Ellen Gilinsky, senior policy advisor, Office of Water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Carlton Haywood, executive director, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin and ACWA Interstate Board representative.