As local and state governments navigate the ever-evolving impacts of COVID-19, Congress continues to discuss ways to spur economic recovery following early federal responses and to invest in the nation’s water infrastructure. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which could be heard by the full Senate this month. The House passed the Moving Forward Act, a bill to invest $1.5 trillion in the nation’s roads, bridges, broadband and water infrastructure. The White House is reportedly preparing at $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Senate Majority Leader McConnell has indicated that follow-on stimulus could include state and local funding. The House Appropriations Committees have marked up FY21 spending bills, which, if enacted, would appropriate billions for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and other vital water related programs. And the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is planning to unveil its version of the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization. These are just a few examples of pending federal actions.
The ultimate fates of renewed federal stimulus that extends to cities, towns, and water resource agencies, potential water infrastructure bills, and the FY21 spending bills will likely be decided in the coming weeks.
That’s why WaterNow is launching the Stimulus for $ustainability Toolkit -- a resource for local water leaders, and their customers and partners, as they reach out to Members of Congress about expanding federal stimulus and water infrastructure funding to sustainable, climate resilient localized solutions. Connecting with Senators and Congressional Representatives can make all the difference in obtaining federal support for local water utilities. Take advantage of the Stimulus for $ustainability Toolkit to add your voice and build on the growing momentum for flexible federal funding.
On June 8, 2020, in a letter to Congressional leadership, over 200 WaterNow and National League of Cities members, and local water leaders, recommended that federal stimulus expand options for cities, towns and utilities to invest in sustainable, localized infrastructure. Recent letters from ~150 WaterNow members and local water leaders to the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and Energy and Water Development House Appropriations Subcommittees highlighted a similar message and requested increased funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, WaterSMART, and other key federal water programs.
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. As Congress continues to discuss follow-on stimulus measures, potential infrastructure legislation, and appropriations for FY21, 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 stimulus funding that expands water infrastructure investment options to include affordable, sustainable, climate resilient localized strategies. Navigate to the sections below to access a template outreach letter, suggested talking points, a template resolution, social media resources, the Localized Infrastructure Jobs Calculator to estimate jobs created by sustainable water investments, and a way to share your localized water infrastructure story with WaterNow.
To support written outreach to your Senators and Members of Congress, WaterNow has developed the Stimulus for $ustainability template outreach letter – download it here.
A Senate directory is available here. A House of Representatives directory is available here. Both directories are searchable by state. You can also check whether your Senator or Member of Congress serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee or the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, two committees key to the water infrastructure discussion, and access their contact information here.
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 stimulus and 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.
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 this calculator, 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!
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.
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.