Public Water Infrastructure
Tell Congress to Renew America’s Water.
If you’re like most people, your probably don’t give much thought to the pipes that deliver water to your home until something goes wrong. But many of the systems that deliver this vital resource to our homes, schools and businesses were built around the same time that Henry Ford developed the Model T. We would never rely on cars that old for our daily transit needs, and our water systems should also be modernized and maintained in order to keep water safe and accessible. But many community systems face daunting challenges.
Today, eighty-six percent of people in United States receive water service from a publicly owned utility. Many of these systems need major upgrades and repairs to keep our water clean and safe. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that our utilities need more than $700 billion to address infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. But federal funding for water infrastructure has declined dramatically since the 1970s, and states and municipalities simply do not have the money they need to maintain and upgrade their water systems.
Get the Facts
- In 2014, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), which provides federal funding to maintain safe drinking water, received $907 million in federal funding — enough to finance only 5 percent of what is needed.
- In 2014, the Clean Water SRF, which provides federal assistance to publicly owned wastewater systems, received $1.4 billion in federal funding — enough to finance only 9 percent of what is needed.
- A gap of nearly $34 billion exists each year between what is available to maintain our water and sewer systems and what is needed.
- Between 1977 and 2009, federal funding for water and wastewater systems dropped 75 percent.
Our water system needs are growing, but federal assistance is dwindling. Too often, funding for water is among the first items on the chopping block during congressional budget battles. A dedicated source of federal assistance for the State Revolving Fund programs will protect our water supplies from this annual appropriations fight.
We need the federal government to renew its commitment to ensuring that every American has access to safe and affordable water service. Renew America’s water today!
- Guide: Take Back the Tap Guide to Safe Tap Water
- Fact Sheet: Why Our Communities Need Federal Investment in Our Public Water Systems to Provide Safe Water for Generations to Come
- Report: Clear Waters: Why America Needs a Clean Water Trust Fund
Fighting Back Bad Legislation
Big Water corporations and Wall Street bankers are taking advantage of this funding crisis and pushing a slew of proposals in Congress that would make it easier for them to control our water supplies and take more money out of our communities.
The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act: This pilot program, which was attached to a large water resources bill, will undermine and compete with State Revolving Fund programs. It creates a redundant program that would benefit large water corporations and Big Oil and Gas at the expense of small and rural water systems and other communities with the greatest water quality problems.
- “Will Your Tax Dollars Subsidize Fracking’s Wasteful Water Use?”
- “Don’t Let Your Community Get Soaked: Protect State Water Programs”
- “New Water Finance Bill a False Solution for Community Water Woes”
The Partnership to Build America Act: The Partnership to Build America Act rewards corporate tax evaders and gives them control of the United States’ vital infrastructure funding. It also would promote and facilitate the privatization of public water and sewer services.
Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act: This would allow private water companies to issue unlimited tax-exempt private activity bonds. It would give unnecessary and unjustified tax breaks for the exclusive benefit of privatized water utilities.
Instead of irresponsible private investment schemes, the United States must plan ahead for future generations and create a dedicated source of federal funding for our State Revolving Fund programs, so that communities across the country can keep their water service clean, safe and affordable. Water is a vital resource, critical for all of us.