Four Pillars of Water Inclusion
The US Water Alliance has identified four areas where water management can foster economic and social inclusion.
Build a water safety net
One of the crowning achievements of the past century was investment in water and wastewater systems that provide the majority of Americans with safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water and wastewater service. While great progress has been made, there are still some Americans who do not have reliable access to life’s most essential resource. As costs for system improvements and maintenance increase, affordability for lower-income people is a growing concern. A secure water future will require building a water safety net that provides a basic level of access to safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water and wastewater service—regardless of income.
Utilize water investments to generate community benefits
As water utilities rebuild and upgrade water systems, there is an opportunity to maximize economic, environmental, and social improvements for disadvantaged communities. This includes workforce training, access to high-quality jobs in the water industry, contracting opportunities, and catalyzing neighborhood improvements.
Foster community resilience in the face of a changing climate
From droughts to flooding, the impacts of a changing climate are often experienced in communities as water-related stresses. As we fortify water and wastewater systems in the face of a changing climate, we have an opportunity to plan for and implement projects in a manner that make disadvantaged communities more resilient.
Build community capacity to engage in planning and governance
Disadvantaged communities sometimes lack the technical knowledge to effectively engage in what are often complex planning and decision-making processes related to water management. Building the capacity of community leaders to effectively contribute to and shape these processes and investment decisions can help forge common-ground, sustainable solutions to how we manage water in America.