Dec 28, 2000

AWWA Calls on Federal Government for Financial Commitment

The report, Clean and Safe Water for the 21st Century, spurred AWWA to again
call for federal government action to address the nation's growing water
infrastructure crisis.

"Though the national water infrastructure is over four times larger than the
federally funded national highway system, the federal government has made no
commitment to help rehabilitate it," said AWWA President Steve Gorden. "The
WIN report makes clear that such an approach will not only impact our public
health, but consumer pocket books as well."

The report projects drinking and wastewater facilities will need to invest
nearly $1 trillion in treatment plants, distribution systems and wastewater
collection systems over the next 20 years. However, investment by utilities
is falling $23 billion short annually due to expensive treatment and
technology upgrades needed to comply with increasing federal regulations. If
federal funding is not made available to help combat this shortcoming, the
report suggests that water and sewer rates across the country will "more
than double." The WIN report also provides historical evidence of the
federal government's commitment to other national infrastructures, such as
the dredging of regional waterways by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and
the construction and expansion of the nation's highway system during the
1950's and 1960's.

AWWA has been working for over a year to raise awareness about the
implications of the water infrastructure crisis for utilities, consumers and
general public health. The WIN, which consists of several organizations
including AWWA, the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, the
Association of State Drinking Water Administrators and the Association of
Metropolitan Water Agencies, as well as stakeholder groups such as the
National League of Cities, is the most comprehensive attempt to present the
infrastructure problem to the federal government.

"This report makes the serious impacts of ignoring our water infrastructure
crisis crystal clear," concluded Gorden. "Without prompt action from the
federal government, paying a water bill will soon make those impacts obvious
to consumers."