For Immediate Release: Feb. 13, 2009
Contact: Susan Bruninga, (202) 833-3280
NACWA Director of Public Affairs
NACWA Applauds Clean Water Funding in Economic Recovery Package
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) applauds Congress for the agreement reached on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is especially pleased that it contains $4 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). This funding will help create or support thousands of good jobs working to ensure clean and safe water and revitalizing a sagging economy. Moreover, allowing at least 50 percent of the funding to go out as grants will help speed the process of getting this money out to cash-strapped communities as quickly as possible.
“We are grateful to members of Congress and President Obama for their hard work on this important stimulus package, not only for the benefits it provides to the economy, but to the environment and public health,” NACWA Executive Director Ken Kirk said. “The nation’s clean water agencies have demonstrated a real need for this funding that can be used to put people back to work quickly upgrading and improving critical wastewater infrastructure. However, our efforts to ensure federal funding for wastewater must not stop here.”
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is an important first step toward rebuilding the important federal, state, and local partnership that was instrumental in helping us achieve the clean water gains of the past 35 years,” Kirk said. “We now must work toward a federal recommitment to clean water that will provide a sustainable source of funding to help our communities meet their water quality objectives over the long-term. NACWA believes that a clean water trust fund is needed to do just that. After all, if we have trust funds for highways and airports, why not create one for water, a resource that each of us uses every single day.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) estimate a $300-$500 billion funding gap over 20 years between what is needed to upgrade and repair the nation’s wastewater infrastructure and how much is being spent. NACWA members estimated that they have $17 billion in ready-to-go wastewater infrastructure projects, demonstrating that $4 billion in stimulus funds represents just the beginning. NACWA will continue to work with Congress on a long-term federal-state-local partnership to address these funding needs. Population growth, aging pipes and equipment, new water quality challenges including climate change, nutrient controls, and other requirements are placing more demands on publicly owned wastewater treatment agencies. Communities currently bear 95 percent of the cost of clean water, even as these demands increase. The federal investment has dropped from 78 percent in the 1970s to less than 5 percent today. To help fill the gap, ratepayers, already constrained by the sagging economy, are facing higher water and sewer bills.
NACWA represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily.
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