Urged innovation and collaboration to enable local communities
Clean Water America Alliance President Ben Grumbles testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on how to better enable local communities to finance wastewater and drinking water facilities mandated by state and federal environmental laws and regulations. “We urgently need water innovation and collaboration, not only to sharpen and polish existing tools, but also to forge new tools for communities and ecosystems,” said Grumbles. He outlined four core principles in detail:
1. Valuing water to support people and systems;
2. Partnering between public and private;
3. Greening infrastructure and recovering resources; and,
4. Connecting infrastructure, watersheds and sustainability through a “one water” management philosophy.
Grumbles offered specific comments on federal funding tools and strategies. While not taking a specific position on current and proposed funding levels, he advised Congress to embrace important aspects of the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs such as broadening project eligibility and administrative flexibility. Grumbles pointed out the growth in water reuse projects and the need for transferability between the Drinking Water SRF and the Clean Water SRF. He also expressed support for additional funding mechanisms, such as “WIFIA” loan guarantees if they could be done in a way that didn’t put other programs such as SRFs at risk.
“Sustainability leaders know it’s a problem beyond their local borders, threatening to become a national crisis on the verge of a catastrophe,” warned Grumbles. “We need a national strategy to increase funding from users and beneficiaries in the private sector, with revenues dedicated to water infrastructure solutions tailored to local and regional conditions.” He also underscored the importance of public-private partnership, such as private activity bonds, and private finance for stormwater retrofits. Click here to download a copy of the testimony http://www.cleanwateramericaalliance.org/pdfs/testimony3.21.12.pdf .