By US Water Alliance
COVID-19 has upended life across America, disrupting business as usual in every sector and shifting the way we relate to, and work with, one another. In many ways, and across many sectors, the pandemic exposes and reinforces structural challenges and social inequities. In the water sector, this plays out through access to water, the cost of water services, governance structures, and even how we fund and deliver those water services.
The US Water Alliance believes we have a unique opportunity in how we respond and recover from COVID-19. We can take this moment of deep disruption and turn it into a source of lasting transformation in how we view, value, and manage our nation’s water systems.
That’s why the US Water Alliance is proud to announce the launch of Recovering Stronger initiative, which stems from our belief that we have a unique opportunity in how we respond and recover from COVID-19. We can take this moment of deep disruption and turn it into a source of lasting transformation in how we view, value, and manage our nation’s water systems.
As part of the launch of the Recovering Stronger initiative, the Alliance is proud to announce the publication of a Federal Policy Blueprint for federal policymakers to help the water sector recover stronger from the pandemic. The blueprint showcases the water sector’s best legislative, regulatory, and administrative policy ideas to inform and shape early policy conversations and help policymakers understand where they specifically might be able to effect change.
The Federal Policy Blueprint is organized around the following themes:
- Make the Water Sector More Stable addresses the structural and funding issues facing the water sector, so that federal recovery efforts can address both the short-term financial shortfalls and the long-term financial sustainability challenges in the water sector.
- Make the Water Sector Safer addresses the problem of emerging and legacy contaminants in the water sector, including suggestions to locate and map lead service lines and fund a coordinated federal approach to remove all lead sources.
- Make the Water Sector More Affordable and Accessible tackles the policy barriers that limit solutions to make water affordable and to ensure everyone has access to safe, reliable water services.
- Make the Water Sector Smarter outlines ways the federal government can incentivize utility modernization and research in the water sector through a comprehensive utility modernization assistance program.
- Make the Water Sector More Resilient addresses how water can be a force for combating the climate crisis, by equitably planning for disasters, improving post-disaster recovery efforts, mitigation, and investment in resilient water systems.
- Take a Whole-Government Approach to Federal Water Management discusses a cross-agency water management strategy to coordinate the more than 20 federal agencies responsible for some component of water management.
We hope Congress and relevant agencies in the Biden Administration will take note of these recommendations and appreciate the broad, bipartisan appeal that they have. There is tremendous consensus behind these ideas, but we need leaders to step up and commit to acting with urgency. We cannot fix the intersecting crises in the United States if without addressing these water issues that have plagued the country for decades.
Read the full Federal Policy Blueprint here, watch the recording of our live launch event here, and join the conversation online about Recovering Stronger @USWaterAlliance.