WIN Calls for Increased Federal Investment for Water Infrastructure
Oct. 18, 2007 -- The Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) and its
members today called on Congress to celebrate the 35th anniversary
of the Clean Water Act by re-establishing its commitment to
investing in clean water infrastructure legislation.
The 1972 Clean Water Act authorized an infusion of federal funds
demonstrating America's commitment to restoring its precious water
resources. Faced with industrial pollution, untreated sewage, and
burning rivers, Congress said -- enough is enough -- and made a
historic, long-term commitment to our nation's water quality.
One of the major tenets of the 1972 statute was the authorization of
federal financial assistance to wastewater treatment and water
quality improvements. In the formative years of the Clean Water Act,
the federal government invested more than $72 billion to help cities
build wastewater treatment plants that significantly contributed to
the clean water progress over the past 35 years. But funding levels
have dropped dramatically in recent years, producing an
ever-widening gap between identified needs and resource commitments.
However, much more needs to be done. The EPA estimates that 40
percent of our nation's waters are impaired for their most basic
uses of fishing and swimming. The Water Infrastructure Network
estimates the 20-year need for clean water infrastructure at
approximately $300-$500 billion over the next 20 years. The WIN
estimate is echoed by the EPA and the Congressional Budget Office.
Despite this data, federal funds for water infrastructure have
plummeted 70 percent since 1980 and almost 50 percent since 2001.
Left unaddressed, enormous infrastructure gaps have consequences.
WIN believes the Senate should act as soon as possible to introduce
and pass similar legislation to H.R. 720, the Water Quality
Financing Act of 2007, which passed the House on a 303-108 vote and
would provide $14 billion over four years for the Clean Water State
Revolving Fund. WIN also believes a long-term, sustainable funding
solution via a clean water trust fund is essential, and we commend
the October 16, 2007 House passage of H. Res. 725, making a
commitment to work toward such a trust fund.
David A. Raymond, President, the American Council of Engineering
Companies (ACEC said, "We have the technology, the capability, and
the expertise. We need a Federal commitment to clean water. We urge
quick action this Congress to make clean water a priority."
Steve Sandherr, Chief Executive Officer of the Associated General
Contractors of America (AGC) said, "While measurable progress has
been made in making the nation's waters swimmable and fishable over
the last 35 years, the lack of funding at all levels of government
puts these gains at risk. There is an urgent need for an immediate
boost in funds for both the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water
State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) programs. There is also wisdom
behind establishing a sustainable source of funding for clean and
safe drinking water infrastructure, much like the Highway and
Aviation Trust Funds."
"Without adequate Federal funding for infrastructure rehabilitation
and replacement, sustained water quality is an impossible goal, said
Larry Frevert, President, American Public Works Association (APWA.)
"On this, the 35th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we urge
Congress to act now to adopt water infrastructure funding
"Dwindling federal commitment to the nation's water and wastewater
systems has left us facing the possibility of a lesser water quality
than existed prior to the Clean Water Act's passage," said W.F.
Marcuson III, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.M.ASCE, president of the American
Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). "We have the economic strength
and the technical know-how to solve this problem. What we lack is
the political will to use them. That has to change. We call on our
national leaders to recommit themselves to protecting public health
and safety by investing in our vital water and wastewater systems."
Ray Poupore, Executive Vice-President, National Construction
Alliance, stated, "Investing in water infrastructure benefits the
environment and the economy. For every $1 billion invested in water
infrastructure spending, 47,000 jobs are created in America."
Ken Kirk, Executive Director of the National Association of Clean
Water Agencies (NACWA) stated, "As the primary stewards of our
nation's waters, the nation's public wastewater treatment utilities
stand committed to achieving the lofty objectives of the Clean Water
Act. The 35th anniversary of the Clean Water Act is not just a time
to celebrate our progress but is a time to recommit to the
local-state-federal partnership that made the Nation's water quality
gains possible. Without a long-term investment commitment from the
federal government the last 35 years of environmental progress will
be lost -- we must not let this happen."
Mohamed Dahab, President of the Water Environment Federation (WEF)
said, "The current funding provisions of the Clean Water Act were
last renewed in 1987. Since then, the "cost of clean" has increased
manifold. The partnership between the federal government and local
communities has been a great success and it needs to be continued."
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
water and wastewater infrastructure provides.