Keep Water Safe by Investing Now
Jan 7, 2008 USA Today, Opinion
Beach closings caused by sewage overflows are occurring at the
highest rate ever, and economically crucial waterways across the
country are being crippled by pollution.
Despite these alarming facts, federal funding for clean water has
been on a steady decline. Overall the federal government
contribution to total clean water spending has shrunk dramatically -
from 78% in 1978 to just 3% today, according to a 2007 report by
Food & Water Watch.
Meanwhile, consumer utility rates have been increasing at twice
the rate of inflation over the last several years. Itís time for a
new solution to the nationís water infrastructure funding crisis.
Congress should create a national trust fund for clean water to
provide a reliable and equitable source of funding for needed
projects across the country.
A dedicated flow of federal funds will provide our communities
with the resources they need to keep water safe for people and the
Andrew D. Brunhart, general manager, The Washington Suburban
Sanitary Commission - Laurel, Md.
Water utilities need a definitive, long-term infrastructure
investment strategy to replace an aging underground water and
wastewater system that has been historically out of sight, out of
mind. Without significant investment, residents can look forward to
some of the problems Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)
has faced in recent years.
As the nationís eighth largest water and wastewater utility
serving 1. 8 million people in Maryland, WSSC has had a record 2,129
water main breaks and leaks in the past year. About 25% or 1,300
miles of our mains are more than 50 years old.
Our grandparents and parents laid the foundation by paying for
great water and sewer systems. Our generation is now charged with
the hard task of replacing aging pipes. This challenge will not go
away. The time to act is now.