As local and state governments navigate the ever-evolving impacts of COVID-19, Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration continue to discuss ways to Build Back Better and spur economic recovery following early federal responses and to invest in the nation’s water infrastructure.
Federal action must be swift and should prioritize ambitious policies that help meet our nation’s urgent water needs. WaterNow Alliance partnered with the National League of Cities (NLC) on a joint letter to President-Elect Biden’s transition team that highlighted our members' key priorities, calling for policies and investments that support innovative, sustainable, and more equitable water solutions. You can read the full letter here.
We encourage you to join us and voice your support for expanding federal funding for water infrastructure to include sustainable, localized solutions. The time is right to reach out to your Member of Congress and let them know that renewed federal stimulus that extends to cities, towns, and water resource agencies, potential water infrastructure bills, and future spending bills must meet the challenges of the moment.
WaterNow’s Stimulus for $ustainability Toolkit equips local water leaders, and their customers and partners, with resources they need to reach out to Members of Congress about expanding federal water infrastructure funding to include sustainable, climate resilient localized solutions. Connecting with Senators and Congressional Representatives can make all the difference in obtaining federal support for local water utilities.
Local water utilities represent 95% of all spending on urban drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure nationwide. These are the same entities hardest hit by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and are in urgent need of federal support. Renewed federal investments in affordable and resilient water infrastructure strategies that bring multiple benefits to communities while meeting essential water services are a fundamental way to spur economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19.
Now is the time to make your voice heard.
WaterNow’s Stimulus for $ustainability Toolkit is a resource for local water leaders, and their supporters and partners, as they reach out to Congress to express their support for federal infrastructure funding that expands water infrastructure investment options to include affordable, sustainable, climate resilient localized strategies. Navigate to the sections below to access the Toolkit resources:
- Template outreach letter
- Suggested talking points
- Template local resolution
- Social media resources
- Localized Infrastructure Jobs Calculator
- Water at Work messaging guidance from the Water Hub at Climate Nexus
- The Opportunity on Water from the Water Hub at Climate Nexus
- Database of key Congressional Committee Members' contact information
- Share your localized water infrastructure story with WaterNow.
We've also compiled links to related federal outreach campaigns from leading organizations including National League of Cities, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, and National Association of Clean Water Agencies. Please contact WaterNow’s Water Policy Director Caroline Koch at [email protected] with any questions about the Stimulus for $ustainability Toolkit.
To support written outreach to your Senators and Members of Congress, WaterNow has developed the Stimulus for $ustainability template outreach letter – download it here.
Use this database to check whether your Senator or Member of Congress serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, or the Senate Finance Committee, which are key to the water infrastructure discussion, and find Committee Members' contact/email information. A full Senate directory is available here. A full House of Representatives directory is available here. Both directories are searchable by state.
To support outreach to your Senators and Members of Congress over the phone, WaterNow has developed Stimulus for $ustainability suggested talking points:
- Local water utilities represent 95% of all spending on urban drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure nationwide. These are the same entities hardest hit by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and are in urgent need of federal support to ensure continuation of vital water services for everyone.
- The National League of Cities has found, the impacts of the COVID-19 crises have decimated cities and towns. The American Water Works Association estimates that impacts to drinking water utilities alone may reduce economic activity by $32.7 billion.
- It is vitally important that federal infrastructure legislation provides local governments and water resource agencies with flexibility to use federal dollars to invest in the measures that make the most sense for their communities including affordable decentralized management solutions.
- Onsite reuse, efficiency and green infrastructure have enormous potential to build resilience and water security while also fostering economic recovery for communities across the nation facing critical needs for jobs and renewal.
A Senate directory is available here. A House of Representatives directory is available here. Both directories are searchable by state and include phone numbers for each Senator’s and Member of Congress’s D.C. office. When calling the main D.C. office line, ask for the legislative staffer working on water issues. Stay tuned for more info on key staff contact information.
Download the Stimulus for $ustainability template resolution here and introduce it into your council or governance body to call on Congress to expand federal water infrastructure funding to sustainable, climate resilient localized water infrastructure strategies.
Once passed, we encourage you to share the resolution directly with your Senators and Members of Congress and send a copy to [email protected].
Use the Stimulus for $ustainability Social Media Support Tools to share your community’s call for flexible federal water infrastructure funding for sustainable, climate resilient localized water infrastructure strategies that spur economic recovery among other multiple benefits. The social media toolkit includes:
- Sample tweets
- Sample Linked In / Facebook post
- Corresponding images to help make your posts standout.
We've partnered with Earth Economics on the Localized Infrastructure Jobs Calculator (Beta), which estimates jobs created per every $1M invested in sustainable, localized water infrastructure solutions such as turf change outs, high efficiency appliances, green roofs, and bioswales, and compares those with investments in conventional options.
Test it out for your state today, and share your feedback with us here!
In preparation for the next wave of infrastructure spending, WaterNow's partners at the Water Hub at Climate Nexus created #WaterAtWork, a new microsite and digital campaign amplifying examples of how investing in water benefits workers, businesses, and communities across the U.S. Each section of the site includes a click-to-tweet button to easily share the illustrations on Twitter as well as a social media toolkit, video, and infographic. We hope you'll join us in sharing!
Additionally, the Water Hub put together message guidance on the opportunity to create economic opportunity while upgrading our aging infrastructure, building climate resilience, and investing in communities most exposed to polluted water sources or lacking access to clean water and sanitation. The guidance includes:
- Information about the need for investment in water infrastructure and the impacts of deferred maintenance and divestment
- Highlights on how water infrastructure investments create jobs and economic activity
- Examples of water at work across the country from Denver, Colorado, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Download the full guide here.
Water Hub also conducted a new national poll showing how much voters care about water and support steps to build water equity and climate resilience. A few key findings:
- More than 3 in 4 voters (77%) support pausing water shutoffs for families behind on their water bills during the pandemic.
- 78% of voters across the country support increasing federal spending on water infrastructure. Water infrastructure investments are popular with a majority of voters, regardless of political party affiliation.
- More than 9 in 10 (93%) voters believe fixing outdated and unsafe drinking water systems should be a priority for President Biden’s economic stimulus plans.
- 65% of voters say the government should prioritize communities with the greatest need, including those currently living with unsafe water, rather than distributing funds equally to all communities (35%).
Read the full results here.
Water Hub's The Opportunity on Water report provides additional context and resources about how the confluence of the COVID-19, racial justice, and climate crises has brought new attention to deep-rooted challenges and created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a more equitable and resilient water system. As federal lawmakers consider trillions in infrastructure spending, water has the potential to unite interests that are typically at odds and deliver meaningful benefits in the form of public health and safety, jobs, racial justice, and climate preparedness.
To share these crucial messages with your Members of Congress and networks use Water Hub's social media support pack here.
If you have innovative water management projects you’d like to share -- green infrastructure, water use efficiency, onsite reuse, lead service line, or other localized infrastructure -- please add it to WaterNow’s list of “21st Century Water Infrastructure Projects.”
WaterNow welcomes examples of projects of all sizes and types showing the benefits of management strategies and technologies that are localized, onsite, decentralized, and distributed across a community. WaterNow will share these examples to highlight how investments in sustainable water solutions will provide near-term economic and other community benefits and build support for flexible federal water infrastructure funding that is available for 21st century water solutions.
Leading water and local government organizations have also compiled resources for connecting with federal policymakers about the importance of investing in affordable, sustainable, climate resilient water infrastructure. These campaigns are linked below:
- Affordable Water, Resilient Communities (NACWA and AMWA)
- Build by the Fourth of July Campaign (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
- Building Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure (National League of Cities)
Please contact WaterNow’s Water Policy Director Caroline Koch at [email protected] with any questions about the Stimulus for $ustainability Toolkit or how to add your example to the 21st Century Water Infrastructure Projects list.