Joint Letter from Water Sector to President-elect Trump
Dear President-Elect Trump:
Congratulations on your successful campaign and election as the President of the United States of America. The undersigned organizations stand ready to work with you to build stronger communities, move our economy forward, and elevate water as a national priority.
Combined, our organizations represent the full spectrum of water interests including drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater across both public and investor-owned utilities. Many of the undersigned organizations will also be providing you with more detailed priorities specific to their membership. However, as communities throughout our great nation face increasing water challenges, our organizations recognize that we must all work together for a secure water future.
We applaud your early focus on making infrastructure investment a priority in the first 100 days of your presidency and hope it will remain a priority throughout. We believe the most important place to start is with our nation’s aging water infrastructure.
Many parts of the country face severe water infrastructure challenges. The EPA has estimated that a minimum of $271 billion in wastewater infrastructure investment and $384 billion in drinking water infrastructure investment is needed over the next 20 years to maintain our current systems. Another study by the American Water Works Association estimates that the U.S. needs to invest $1 trillion over the next 30 years just to maintain our current level of drinking water service. Wastewater needs are usually equal to those of drinking water.
Investment in water is one of the best bets we can make in terms of fueling economic growth. A 2014 report by the Water Research Foundation and the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation—National Economic and Labor Impacts of the Water Utility Sector—calculated the economic impacts of the 30 largest public utilities, serving in aggregate more than one-quarter of the US population. In total these utilities are investing $23 billion per year, contributing to $52 billion in economic output, and supporting 289,000 jobs annually.
We encourage your administration to prioritize the following issues:
- Increase Investment in Water Infrastructure. Any new federal infrastructure bill must include a significant investment in water infrastructure. There should be robust funding and financing options that provide the capital needed to modernize our nation’s drinking water and clean water systems. We support increased funding for existing programs; and new public and private financing tools that will increase capital investment to close the water infrastructure investment gap.
- Address Water Affordability. One of the crowning achievements of the past century was investment in the systems that provide the majority of Americans with safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water and wastewater service. As costs for system improvements and maintenance increase, affordability for working families and lower-income people is a growing concern. Collaboration and co-investment by local water providers, states, and the federal government can solve the affordability challenge.
- Invest in innovation. We encourage your administration to partner with the water sector to encourage investment in new water technologies. We seek incentives and funding for water technology research, development, and deployment of new technology in the field. New technologies can benefit households and businesses through greater cost efficiencies and cleaner drinking water and wastewater.
As a nation, our water challenges are great, but our capacity to advance cost-effective and sustainable solutions has never been greater. We welcome the opportunity to work with your administration to secure America’s water future.
Diane VanDe Hei, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies
Tracy Mehan, Executive Director, American Water Works Association
Adam Krantz, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Michael Deane, Executive Director, National Association of Water Companies
Radhika Fox, Chief Executive Officer, US Water Alliance
Eileen O'Neill, Executive Director Water, Environment Federation
Melissa Meeker, Chief Executive Officer, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and WateReuse Association
Robert Renner, Chief Executive Officer, Water Research Foundation
Vanessa M. Leiby, Executive Director, Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association