Report Describes Challenges Facing Buffalo's Vulnerable Communities and Promising Strategies for Equitable Water Management and Shared Prosperity
Recently, the US Water Alliance, along with innovative Buffalo leaders representing utilities, local nonprofits, and philanthropy, released An Equitable Water Future: Buffalo. This is the first-ever report on the connections between water management and equity in the city of Buffalo, NY. The report is available online here (http://uswateralliance.org/sites/uswateralliance.org/files/publications/uswa_equity_buffalo_040219_a.pdf).
An Equitable Water Future: Buffalo was collaboratively developed by representatives from the Buffalo Sewer Authority, Buffalo Water Board, PUSH Buffalo, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Western New York Environmental Alliance, and Groundworks Buffalo.
Buffalo's vulnerable communities face a range of challenges related to water, from aging infrastructure and affordability to water quality concerns. Buffalo's history of population decline, industrial pollution, and economic shifts has created significant disparities in wealth, employment, and public health, and those factors affect water systems as well. Low-income people and communities of color in Buffalo are disproportionately impacted by water affordability, aging infrastructure, and more. Making water systems more equitable means ensuring that all people have access to safe, affordable water, and benefit from high-quality infrastructure and public amenities like waterfront parks.
"I am proud to release our water equity roadmap. Like many other cities across the United States, our challenges need to be met with thoughtful, comprehensive solutions. I would like to thank Mayor Byron W. Brown and our community partners at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, PUSH Buffalo, Groundworks Buffalo, and WNY Environmental Alliance for dedicating themselves to this project for the past year," said Oluwole McFoy, General Manager of Buffalo Sewer & Chairman of Buffalo Water.
"The challenges that Buffalo communities face are significant, but there are many opportunities to make progress. Working towards greater social equity has widespread benefits beyond water systems-closing the racial equity gap in Buffalo would significantly grow the economy. I applaud the Buffalo Water Equity Taskforce for their leadership in working to make Buffalo a more prosperous and equitable city," said Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance.
An Equitable Water Future: Buffalo discusses critical topics in water equity, including affordability, water quality, infrastructure, workforce development, and waterfronts. For each of these topics, the report examines critical challenges, describes promising practices that are currently underway, and highlights priority actions that stakeholders in Buffalo can take to advance equitable water management.
This report is part of the Water Equity Taskforce, a network of cities convened by the US Water Alliance that work together to develop more equitable water policies and practices. The Taskforce is comprised of cross-sector teams in the cities of Atlanta, Buffalo, Camden, Cleveland, Louisville, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh.
For more information, visit http://uswateralliance.org/initiatives/water-equity/taskforce.