WEF, NACWA applaud state of the union for focus on investment in infrastructure, resiliency to climate change

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Washington D.C. -- In his State of the Union Address last night, President Obama focused on the role of infrastructure to a healthy economy and identified climate change and resiliency as national priorities, all of which pave the way for a renewed focus on the value of water and water infrastructure, according to the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).

WEF and NACWA are heartened by the President’s emphasis on economic recovery and climate change. Water considerations are essential to progress in both areas, and the organizations are encouraged by the potential to advance and improve the Nation’s water programs. As seen in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, clean and safe water infrastructure is now squarely a key component of any national effort to address the effects of climate change and ensure the resiliency of our communities going forward.

The recently released Water Resources Utility of the Future … Blueprint for Action coauthored by WEF, NACWA, and the Water Environment Research Foundation, calls for a utility of the future that recovers valuable resources from the treatment process, is a partner in local economic development, and is a member of the watershed community seeking to deliver maximum environmental benefits at the least cost to the ratepayer. Fully supportive of the transition to clean, renewable energy and climate change-related initiatives, the utility of the future reclaims and reuses water; extracts and finds commercial uses for nutrients; captures waste heat and latent energy in biosolids and liquid streams; generates renewable energy; and uses green infrastructure to manage stormwater. WEF and NACWA also share a position on climate change that underscores the clear need to create sustainable, resilient water facilities that can meet and withstand the effects of extreme wet weather events.

Beyond the challenges of climate change and renewable energy, rebuilding America’s aging water infrastructure would be a well-suited component of the President’s 'Fix It First' program, proposed last night to put Americans to work on the most urgent repairs.

Both in terms of jobs created and public health protection, water infrastructure repair cannot be overlooked as the Nation moves to rebuild its economy. Additionally, the President’s focus on manufacturing, innovation, and jobs translates to the need to drive innovative solutions in water to create jobs and ensure a sustainable environment.

WEF and NACWA look forward to working with the President and Congress to help rebuild the economy and create a better, safer, and more resilient America through sound investment in, and innovative approaches to, national water programs.

About NACWA

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is the leading advocate for responsible national policies that advance clean water and a healthy environment. NACWA represents the collective interests of America’s clean water utilities and has done so for over 40 years. NACWA continues to be the clean water community’s voice in Congress, at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in the media and in the courts. To learn more, visit us at www.nacwa.org.

About WEF

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. WEF members, Member Associations, and staff proudly work to achieve our mission to provide bold leadership, champion innovation, connect water professionals, and leverage knowledge to support clean and safe water worldwide. To learn more, visit www.wef.org

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