Leading water associations join forces to bring key issues to Congress
Utility leaders to approach Congress in more than 400 meetings during first American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation Water Matters! Fly In
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The two largest water associations in North America today combined forces for the first time to push for smart approaches to water infrastructure finance and regulation through more than 400 meetings on Capitol Hill.
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) brought more than 170 delegates from water, wastewater and stormwater utilities in 49 states and Puerto Rico for the tenth Water Matters! Fly In.
“Assuring reliable and safe water resources and infrastructure must be a top national priority,” said AWWA President Joseph Mantua. “Our water and wastewater systems are critical to the protection of public health and safety, our economy, and the quality of life we enjoy.”
“Together, WEF and AWWA represent a strong, united voice for water,” said WEF President Jeanette Brown. “More than ever, our members recognize that the water sector is not easily defined as ‘water’ or ‘wastewater.’ Our conversations this week will remind elected leaders the role that water infrastructure plays in assuring clean water and the economic vitality of our communities.”
Water professionals will ask Congress for its support on several key issues during the Fly In, including:
Improved Water Infrastructure Finance Tools
- Support the creation of a new water infrastructure finance mechanism to provide low-cost capital to water utilities needing to invest in infrastructure, as well as to State Revolving Funds.
- Support reform and capitalization of state revolving loan fund programs for drinking water and wastewater.
- Remove water projects from the state volume cap on Private Activity Bonds.
Renew the Federal Partnership in Meeting Clean and Drinking Water Challenges
- Renew the federal commitment to help states and localities meet their obligations to provide clean and safe water to their communities and the public by funding and strengthening Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs.
- Fund Public Water System Supervision grants, State Clean Water Act program grants, and the Clean Water Act Section 319 (nonpoint source) program.
- Fund the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program to provide adequate monitoring data on which to make management decisions.
Chemical Facility Security
- Support chemical security legislation that applies to water and wastewater utilities only if it:
- Assures local authorities make decisions on the best chemicals for water treatment, excluding orders to use “inherently safer technology.”
- Applies to drinking water and wastewater systems only if they have chemicals of concern above identified threshold quantities.
- Provides adequate protection of sensitive information.
Improving Clean Water Requirements
If the 112th Congress considers changes to the Clean Water Act or the Safe Drinking Water Act, it should provide communities with both flexibility and affordability. Congress should consider rational, even-handed approaches to revising Clean Water Act or SDWA requirements that both improve program delivery and or state/local flexibility while advancing environmental and public health protections. Changes should incorporate sustainability and support a watershed approach to protecting and restoring water quality.
Support scientific processes when setting drinking water standards
Congress should support the methodical scientific approaches already contained in the Safe Drinkinng Water Act for determining which substances to regulate in drinking water. AWWA and WEF encourage legislators to withhold support for bills that make legislative determinations on what should be scientific decisions.
AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. Through our collective strength we become better stewards of water for the greatest good of the people and the environment.
Formed in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. WEF and its Member Associations proudly work to achieve our mission of preserving and enhancing the global water environment.