Late Friday night, the House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan Act, legislation to deliver additional COVID-19 relief that contains $500M for low-income water utility bill assistance. This new funding for low-income water assistance comes in addition to the initial $638M provided in the December 2020 FY21 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies issued the following joint statement:
"The public water sector is grateful to the U.S. House of Representatives for including $500M in additional assistance to low-income water customers in the American Rescue Plan Act. This funding recognizes the critical role of public drinking water and clean water services and the increased strain many households are facing in paying their water bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn.
"NACWA and AMWA are currently working to center this critical issue through our joint Affordable Water, Resilient Communities campaign. Increasing water rates continue to present an affordability challenge for many households across the country, particularly in light of increasing economic pressures which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"On behalf of public water utilities working around the country to maintain safe, reliable, and affordable water services, we strongly applaud the House for recognizing and addressing this need, and we look forward to the Senate doing the same. In the months ahead we will continue to work with the 117th Congress and Biden administration to further assist customers in need and local utilities that are suffering under the effects of these crises."
NACWA and AMWA extend a special thanks to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional leadership from both parties for their continued support of water sector funding.
For 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation's recognized leader in advancing sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. NACWA seeks to fulfill this mission through its national recognition/awards program, its clean water advocacy and communications, and its peer-to-peer utility network to share best practices from coast-to-coast. For more information, visit www.nacwa.org.
The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) is an organization of the largest publicly owned drinking water systems in the United States, whose members provide clean and safe drinking water to more than 156 million Americans nationwide. AMWA's primary objective is to be the unified and definitive voice for the nation's largest publicly owned drinking water systems on regulatory, legislative, and security issues. For more information, visit at www.amwa.net