Joint effort by public water utility sector aims to raise awareness of need for strong federal partnership on clean and safe water
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) kicked off their joint Affordable Water, Resilient Communities campaign, according to the NACWA press release.
The campaign will increase awareness among federal lawmakers, key stakeholders, and the public around the vital role of public water sector utilities in supporting healthy, resilient communities, the financial challenges local utilities and their customers face after years of increasing local costs and declining federal cost-share, and the critical need for greater federal investment in water infrastructure.
Federal investment in water infrastructure has declined to less than 5% while total costs for capital, operations and maintenance have grown for decades, reported NACWA in the press release.
This decline in federal investment, coupled with the growing cost to provide clean and safe water, have strained households’ ability to pay for water services – with a disproportionate impact on low-income households – as water rates have steadily climbed to meet increasing infrastructure costs, public health demands, and environmental requirements.
The Affordable Water, Resilient Communities campaign launches with three goals, according to the NACWA press release:
- Ensure efficient, effective implementation of federal water utility bill relief and establish a permanent federal low-income water customer assistance program;
- Support increased federal investment in water infrastructure; And
- Help public water utilities recover from the pandemic and play a vital role in a strong economic recovery with reinvestment in America’s critical infrastructure to ensure a stronger, healthier, resilient future.
For more information, please visit www.affordableh2o.org. There, users will find resources and tools for advancing the campaign in their communities, including fact sheets, social media resources and more.
National Association of Clean Water Agencies
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the critical services provided by the public clean water sector," said Adam Krantz, NACWA’s chief executive officer in the statement. "For decades, this cornerstone of America’s infrastructure – water – has been marginalized by the federal government while local communities and water customers have increasingly stepped up their investment and expanded their roles in advancing public health and environmental protection. Much-needed infrastructure upgrades and increasing compliance costs have fallen almost entirely on the backs of ratepayers – an untenable and unaffordable solution for millions of Americans."
Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies
“Ensuring access to safe drinking water is essential to achieving equity and social justice for all Americans," said Diane Van DeHei, AMWA’s chief executive officer in the statement. "But today the cost of basic water service poses a challenge to many low-income households, particularly for those in vulnerable communities. Aging water infrastructure and expanded regulatory mandates are expected to put additional upward pressure on local water rates in the coming years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only added additional stress to households facing rising water bills."