Water InfrastructureVital to the health and well-being of our families and communities.
Investments Critical to Ensuring Safe, Reliable, Affordable Clean Water
Water infrastructure is vital to the health and wellbeing of our families and communities.
But across the country, our drinking water and sewage systems are outdated and crumbling. Decades of underfunding and deferred maintenance of our water systems have pushed America to the brink of an infrastructure crisis. We must invest in upgrading our nation’s water infrastructure, and we need to prioritize equitable and sustainable solutions that prioritize communities in need and emphasize cost effective, natural approaches.
In many parts of the country, drinking water and sewage systems were built over a century ago, and are in desperate need of repair today. In its Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation’s dams a ‘D’ grade, and wastewater and drinking water systems a ‘D-,’ the lowest grades of any infrastructure category. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that the public health and environmental gains achieved since passage of the Clean Water Act are rapidly being reversed due to crumbling infrastructure.
An investment in water infrastructure is an investment in public health and our nation’s economy. Water infrastructure funding should include sustained investments to remedy deficient drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. New and innovative sources of water infrastructure funding are needed, as are increases to existing sources of funding and financing such as the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.
Funding should be available for pre development grants, technical assistance, building new water infrastructure, repairing existing infrastructure, and deconstructing outdated infrastructure. New water infrastructure funding should expand or complement the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, not replace them.
Water infrastructure funding must be prioritized for communities that have critical infrastructure needs and lack the ability to meet those needs by raising or repaying funds from local sources. Infrastructure investments should be directed to the greatest water quality problems, based on a comprehensive review of available data and research.
Prioritizing Natural Infrastructure
Our country needs a 21st century approach that integrates green solutions and helps ensure community safety and security. We need to invest in approaches that utilize natural infrastructure as a first line of defense along with engineered structures that together can effectively meet multiple needs, at lower cost, and help communities and natural systems be better prepared for the impacts of climate change.
Natural infrastructure is an approach to water management that protects, restores, or mimics the natural water cycle. This approach is effective, economical, and enhances community safety and quality of life.
It means planting trees and restoring wetlands, rather than building a costly new water treatment plant. It means choosing water efficiency instead of building a new water supply dam. It means restoring floodplains instead of building taller levees.