News | February 12, 2018

National Association Of Clean Water Agencies Responds To White House Infrastructure Proposal

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is pleased that drinking water and clean water systems were specifically mentioned in the White House’s infrastructure proposal released earlier today. President Trump’s commitment of $1.5 trillion and reaffirmation of $200 billion in federal dollars, in addition to working with local governments, is a necessary first step to fixing our nation’s critically underfunded water infrastructure.

NACWA is encouraged to highlight and support the following details from the White House’s infrastructure proposal:

  • Drinking water, wastewater and stormwater facilities are specifically mentioned in eligibility categories of different programs within the bill;
  • $100 billion in Incentives Program funding to be split among Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for infrastructure projects, including “drinking water facilities, wastewater facilities, [and] stormwater facilities”;
  • $50 billion for a Rural Infrastructure Program including for water, wastewater and stormwater projects;
  • $20 billion for a Transformative Projects Program that includes the clean water sector;
  • The potential to dramatically expand eligibilities beyond the water/wastewater sector for WIFIA, which NACWA needs to study more carefully with its water sector partners;
  • A section on Workforce Development aimed at ensuring “our country has enough skilled workers to perform not only existing work but also fill the new jobs created by the bill”; and 
  • A provision expanding National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit terms from 5 to 15 years with automatic renewals “if the water quality needs do not require more stringent limits.”

“While we appreciate the Administration’s focus on water, NACWA is concerned that the White House’s proposal may be overly ambitious in terms of how much private investment and other non-federal revenue can be leveraged, particularly for water-specific projects,” said NACWA CEO Adam Krantz. “For decades, communities across the country have struggled to provide necessary funding to support our aging water infrastructure, much of which is over a century old. Municipalities now shoulder 95 percent of the financial burden to build, operate, maintain and repair these vital clean and safe water systems. We need a higher level of direct federal investment than what is contemplated here, to ensure there is a meaningful partnership between the federal and local levels.”

NACWA is committed to advocating for greater federal funding so communities have the financial support they need to provide clean water to all. As a comprehensive infrastructure bill comes together, NACWA is dedicated to working with our nation’s leaders to support a fiscally balanced infrastructure plan, one that will prioritize this country’s critical water needs.