Blog

Washington DC Update - October 2020

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | October 27, 2020

Here in the District, Congress remains in a stalemate over a potential stimulus bill and any shift before the election next week looks very unlikely. While House Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin continue negotiations, any prospect of a deal is overshadowed by Republican opposition in the Senate. As Speaker Pelosi and Mnuchin have worked towards a $2 trillion bill, Senate Majority Leader McConnell has urged the White House against agreeing to any deal before November 3rd. While not much has substantially changed in Congress since last month, the middle of October brought an unexpected Executive Order from the President on Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure. The purported goal of the EO is to improve coordination and promote integrated planning among federal agencies. The EO also recognizes the need for workforce development in the water sector and calls for the recruitment, training, and retention of water sector professionals. | More >

Your Imagine a Day Without Water Agenda

Katie Henderson, Senior Program Manager, US Water Alliance | October 21, 2020
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Whether this is the first time you’ve participated in Imagine a Day Without Water or your sixth, this is a year like no other! It’s not just that this years Imagine a Day is totally digital—this year has also urgently reminded us how critical safe and reliable water is to protecting public health. 
With so much going on that demands our attention, taking a whole day to think about water or take action to advocate for water can seem daunting. But the Value of Water Campaign is here to help: follow this plan for an inspiring day of action!

Washington DC Update - September 2020

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | September 29, 2020

While the climate has monumentally shifted in DC since our last update due to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the ensuing fight to fill that seat, much of the policy considerations remain in similar positions. Democrats and Republicans have not made any further progress in a deal on the next round of COVID-19 relief. Democrats, feeling pressure from some House members, have released a new $2.2 trillion relief package. This new version of the HEROES Act merges new priorities for small businesses, airline workers, and education with much of the content from the $3.5 trillion version of the HEROES Act passed by the House in May. White House and Senate Republicans haven’t moved from their position of a $1.5 trillion topline number so this new package, if taken up and passed in the House, is also dead on arrival in the Senate. With the new fault lines around the Supreme Court seat looking to deepen over the next month, and the existing ones from the approaching election not getting better, it’s hard to see a clear path forward for a relief package before the election. | More >

Providing Water and Sanitation Access to Unhoused Populations during the COVID-19 and Beyond: Guidance for Water and Wastewater Utilities

Zoë Roller, Senior Program Manager, US Water Alliance | September 28, 2020

Unhoused populations are vulnerable to a range of public risks, including COVID-19. They lack continuous access to running water, toilets, showers, and laundry, making it extremely difficult to take proper precautions. Homeless individuals are at high risk of health conditions including hepatitis, HIV, and tuberculosis. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that there are approximately 560,000 people experiencing homelessness in the US, including over 100,000 minors. These numbers may rise alongside rapidly increasing unemployment. Many Americans are at risk of losing their homes in the absence of sweeping policies to prevent eviction and foreclosure. Providing water and sanitation access to unhoused populations is a key preventative measure to protect their health and wellbeing. | More >

Announcing the Launch of the Water Equity Network

Gina Wammock, Senior Fellow, US Water Alliance | September 21, 2020

The Water Equity Network is a nationwide community of practice where cities can share best practices—including COVID-19 response strategies—in real time, engage in cross-city coaching and mentoring, and advance equitable water management. Network members will have an opportunity to build trusting relationships with diverse local partners to tackle water equity issues, and they’ll engage with other city teams facing similar issues to share ideas and solutions.  | More >

Safe Septic Systems: a Key Component of Water Equity

Zoë Roller, Program Manager, US Water Alliance | September 11, 2020

The US Water Alliance is proud to join the EPA Decentralized Wastewater Management Partnership, a group formed to work collaboratively at the national level to protect the nation’s public health and water resources. The purpose of the partnership is to improve the overall performance and management of decentralized wastewater treatment systems, also known as septic systems. | More >

Washington DC Update - August 2020

Scott Berry, Policy Director, US Water Alliance | August 27, 2020

Washington lawmakers began August with three tall orders to fill. As unemployment hangs in the double digits, the need for another package of COVID-19 relief is growing more pronounced and key provisions of previous bills are expiring. And, with the September 30th deadline fast approaching, annual spending bills remain unfinished. And, looming just after the election, raising the debt ceiling will be a key need. Despite this consequential to-do list, Congress opted for a limited legislative schedule with long breaks in August and early September. That leaves only a few remaining months before a critical election for each party to act and make the case to the American for why their party deserves the mandate to govern. | More >

Investing in Water Infrastructure: Exponential Potential and the Cost of Inaction

Katie Henderson- Value of Water Campaign | August 26, 2020

A hidden network of pipes and pumps ensure water flows through homes and businesses, but people often take these critical systems for granted. This month, our organizations, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Value of Water Campaign (VOW), partnered on a new economic report that quantifies water infrastructure investment and what happens when the nation fails to invest. With the research firm EBP, we sought to understand two contrasting futures: a future where we meet our water infrastructure needs and a future where we allow water infrastructure investment to fall further and further behind. | More >

US Water Prize for Outstanding Cross-Sector Partnership: Flint Community Lab

US Water Alliance | August 20, 2020

In the wake of the water crisis that began in 2014 and exposed tens of thousands to toxic lead levels, many Flint, MI residents were left not knowing who to trust about the safety of their water. In 2018, two organizations, Flint Development Center, a community center located in a former elementary school, and Freshwater Future, an established organization dedicated to the protection of the Great Lakes, stepped up to address this challenge of trust. The organizations created the Flint Community Lab. The Lab began as a summer pilot program with 15 teens and aimed to both inspire local youths to get involved in their city’s water issues, and to provide accurate information to residents about the water that serves them. Because of its unique strategy of engaging youth to address one of the most high-profile water issues in America, the Flint Community Lab has earned the US Water Prize for Cross Sector Partnership  | More >

US Water Prize for Outstanding Private Sector Organization: Marriott International

US Water Alliance | August 20, 2020

Water is essential to every facet of America’s hotels—from the cooking of guests’ meals and cleaning linens and towels to hotel pools and air conditioning systems. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, hotel water usage accounts for approximately 15 percent of the nation’s commercial and industrial water use. Marriott International is a visionary leader addressing water challenges in the hotel industry and for that leadership earned the 2020 US Water Prize for Outstanding Private Sector Organization.   | More >