Jul 17, 2009

National Association of Water Companies Expresses Concern over Proposed Water Trust Fund Legislation

Association claims the trust fund mechanism would “discourage responsible water use and conservation”

The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) recently submitted testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure regarding the NAWC’s concerns with H.R. 3202, The Water Protection and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“The trust fund mechanism created by this bill would serve to further mask the value of water through taxes on unrelated activities and discourage responsible water use and conservation through heavy, broad utility subsidizations,” said NAWC in the testimony. “Aggregate water use can only be reduced by changing the way people think about flushing their toilets, watering their lawns and washing their dishes and how industries think about water as an input cost. Similarly, public support for spending on environmental infrastructure can only be increased by changing the way people and businesses think about those very same activities. Neither goal can be achieved by creating opaque ways to fund water initiatives that allow users to continue thinking of water as a disposable resource.”

The NAWC actively supports federal policies that provide utilities with the incentives to set prices that both sustain infrastructure investments and encourage conservation by household and industrial water users. State Revolving Loan Fund programs and H.R. 537, Congressman Bill Pascrell’s (D-N.J.) bill that would increase the amount of tax-exempt funding available to water and wastewater utilities, both adhere to the principals of helping utilities make affordable investments in their infrastructure while still sending accurate price signals to the public about the value of water.

“The water infrastructure replacement challenge our country faces is a serious one, and requires a serious and sustainable response. We are concerned, however, that by masking the true cost and value of water service, the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act would directly undermine these goals, and could in the long run increase the infrastructure challenge. Congress should stay focused on encouraging long-term efficient and sustainable utility management,” said Michael Deane, executive director of NAWC.