Clean Water Advocacy - Water Infrastructure Network

Water Infrastructure Network

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2001 Contact: Lee Garrigan, AMSA
(202) 833-4655

Click here to open the report (PDF version ~520 KB)

Groups Call for New Investment in America’s Water Infrastructure

Washington, D.C. – Congress should pass legislation this year to renew the nation’s commitment to clean and safe water, according to a new report from the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), a non-partisan coalition of local elected officials, drinking water and wastewater service providers, environmental groups, labor unions, and construction and engineering professionals.

In the report released today, the network calls for a five-year, $57 billion federal investment in drinking water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure to replace aging pipes, upgrade treatment systems, and continue to protect public health and the environment. The report also urges Congress to create a long-term, sustainable, and reliable source of federal funding for clean and safe water.

The report, entitled Water Infrastructure Now, states that the funding increase is urgently needed to help close a $23 billion per year gap between infrastructure needs and current spending.

Cities, counties, and other local agencies supply the public with tap water, and they collect, treat and dispose of sewage and urban runoff. Local governments and their ratepayers currently cover 90 percent of the costs to build, operate and maintain public water and sewer systems. But, as older systems deteriorate and water quality rules tighten, local budgets simply cannot keep pace.

“The staggering cost of maintaining, operating, rehabilitating, and replacing our aging water infrastructure requires a new partnership between federal, state and local government,” said Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, President of the National League of Cities. “We call upon the new leadership in Washington to renew the federal financial commitment to assist local governments in meeting the growing water and wastewater infrastructure needs.”

To bridge the investment gap, the federal government should meet localities halfway – by authorizing an average of $11.5 billion in capitalization funds over five years – the report proposes. States would receive the funds and in turn offer grants and loans to local agencies. In an era of unprecedented federal surpluses, the time for renewing the nation’s commitment to its water resources is now, states the report.

Other legislative recommendations in the report include:

The Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) is a broad-based coalition of local elected officials, drinking water and wastewater service providers, state environmental and health administrators, engineers and environmentalists dedicated to preserving and protecting the health, environmental and economic gains that America’s drinking and wastewater infrastructure provides.