Success Stories of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Highlighted
Recently, during a public hearing held by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment—specifically to examine the current state of the country's clean water infrastructure—a Board Member of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) proposed solutions for "the infrastructure gap," or the future investment needed to maintain clean water systems in comparison to current investments; and "the affordability challenge," which is the burden of rising infrastructure maintenance costs on low-income ratepayers.
"Closing the infrastructure gap will be very costly and will impose an economic burden on all customers, which will be felt especially by our most economically distressed customers," testified Andy Kricun, NACWA Board Member and Executive Director of the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority in New Jersey. "Every American citizen, rural and urban, regardless of their zip code, deserves safe drinking water and clean rivers and streams at affordable rates."
Mr. Kricun's testimony highlighted how the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) has helped his utility make transformative investments in their facilities, while keeping rate increases low. He made the case for more robust funding for the CWSRF, the core federal program for water which provides low-interest loans for clean water utilities; the creation of "affordability/rate assistance programs" to help defray water infrastructure costs to ratepayers; and partnerships—including peer-to-peer partnerships among public sector utilities, as well as those between public sector and private sector organizations.
"There is an opportunity for a 'win-win' in dealing with the infrastructure gap as the construction of new water infrastructure will also create jobs at a time when they are badly needed in our economy," Kricun said. "There is a tremendous opportunity to better protect public health and the environment, and create jobs for our economy, without causing economic harm to our most vulnerable communities."
The hearing, entitled "The Clean Water State Revolving Fund: How Federal Infrastructure Investment Can Help Communities Modernize Water Infrastructure and Address Affordability Challenges" comes two days after the bipartisan introduction of the Water Quality Protection and Jobs Creation Act of 2019 bill in the House—a bill that would significantly boost funding for CWSRF and is strongly supported by NACWA and many other water sector organizations.
NACWA thanks Subcommittee Chair Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA) and Ranking Member Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) for organizing a hearing on this critical issue, and looks forward to working with the Subcommittee, and the full Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, to make additional progress in funding our nation's clean water infrastructure.
For nearly 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation's recognized leader in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy on the full spectrum of clean water issues. NACWA represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide, who together serve nearly 125 million people. Our unique and growing network strengthens the advocacy voice for all member utilities, and ensures they have the tools necessary to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for all. Our vision is to represent every public clean water utility as a NACWA member, helping to build a strong and sustainable clean water future. For more information, visit us atwww.nacwa.org.