News | July 23, 2014

Protecting Cities' Threatened Water Supplies – New NRDC Roadmaps To Safeguard Local Drinking Water And Fix Outdated Infrastructure

This summer, we’ve seen a trend of leaders at every level tackling the threats to local water supplies, such as recent epic droughts and devastating floods and storms, through funding of new wastewater infrastructure and water efficiency measures. 

In fact, just this morning, Governor Pat Quinn (IL) signed legislation that enables Illinois communities to implement robust climate-smart green infrastructure and water efficiency projects. Just last week, President Obama announced a slate of federal actions, including green infrastructure, to help communities prepare for climate change impacts.

This proactive leadership comes with good reason: beyond facing serious water supply challenges in an era of chronic water scarcity, water infrastructure needs across the nation are estimated to total more than $630B over the next two decades – simply to maintain current levels of service.

But right now, cities and utilities can follow Quinn and Obama’s leads and confront these water supply threats through sensible investments in 21st century water solutions. Today, the Natural Resources Defense Council releases new reports that can help cities do exactly that. These two resourceful roadmaps for communities, state and federal environmental officials, municipal utility, wastewater and water managers, and funding agencies, outline ways to integrate comprehensive urban water efficiency strategies into SRFs and Clean Water Act compliance:

  1. Using State Revolving Funds to Build Climate-Resilient Communities
    • Ben Chou, NRDC water policy analyst and report author, shares how leaders can tap into the significantly underutilized opportunity for State Revolving Funds - the largest funding source for water and wastewater infrastructure (totaling more than $125B to date) - to help communities better prepare for climate change with water efficiency, green infrastructure and flood resiliency. Summary blog here.
  2. Waste Less, Pollute Less: Using Urban Water Conservation to Advance Clean Water Act Compliance
    • Larry Levine, NRDC senior water attorney and report author, writes about how cities and utilities, as well as regulatory and funding agencies, can simultaneously reduce water pollution and water use by using  water efficiency measures that help meet urban water supply needs and achieve more cost-effective compliance with the Clean Water Act. Summary blog here.