A Deep Dive in the Deep South: The Water Equity Network's Southeast Regional Cohort Meets in New Orleans

Clare Auld-Brokish, Program Associate, and Erica Rawles, Arts and Culture Program Manager | May 23, 2023

The Southeastern United States faces an array of water equity hurdles: climate change impacts and increased instances of extreme weather, aging infrastructure, and a history of racial injustice. The region also has an abundance of powerful water stories and strong community voices dedicated to centering the needs of those most heavily impacted by water inequities—Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color, as well as low-income communities—to achieve a sustainable water future. Our 2023 convenings kicked off in March with the first-ever meeting of our Southeast Regional Cohort in New Orleans, Louisiana, an exceptionally resilient city with a history and future heavily shaped by water.  | More >

Scorecard Finds that Most States Are Responding Slowly to Escalating Water Supply Challenges

Ron Burke, President and CEO, Alliance for Water Efficiency | January 25, 2023

With climate change fueling more frequent and severe droughts nationwide and water services becoming increasingly costly and unaffordable for many, there is an urgent need to advance water efficiency and conservation, which are typically the fastest and least expensive ways to save water. These measures also help to lower water bills, reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and protect waterways. Additionally, water efficiency helps build resilience to extreme weather events that are increasing because of climate change. | More >

Washington DC Update—August 2022

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | August 30, 2022

The August recess is here, with the House being out until September 13 and the Senate being out until September 6. Lawmakers have been working feverishly to either pass or tee up legislation in accordance with their agenda before the upcoming midterm elections in November determine the balance of power in Washington. | More >

The US Water Alliance Celebrates the Work of its Water Equity Network Members

Clare Auld-Brokish | August 26, 2022

The compounding impacts of climate change and deepening social divides bring new challenges for the water sector in America, particularly for marginalized non-white communities already overburdened with economic, environmental, and health challenges. A 2019 US Water Alliance report found that race is the strongest predictor of water and sanitation access and that poverty is a key obstacle to water access. For these communities in the coming years and decades, fundamental concerns of water affordability, safety, and security will continue to grow unless action is taken today. | More >

We apologize and hope for the opportunity to make it right.

US Water Alliance | June 30, 2022

Our mission is to advance an equitable One Water future. Those who join us in this work come from a variety of perspectives, organization types, sectors, and regions. When it comes to advancing equity, we require a collective commitment to learning and growing together. We endeavor and aspire to advance water equity and racial equity in authentic, meaningful, and healing-centered ways. We endeavor and aspire to prevent equity-washing and honestly address the painful histories that demonstrate why a focus on water and racial equity are so very necessary. 

We failed in our aspirations to advance water equity and racial equity in authentic and honest ways when we published content in our newsletter citing the Great Lakes Water Authority’s commitment to affordability without also acknowledging the real harms endured by Detroiters because of GLWA’s words, policies, and actions in the past—particularly concerning water service shutoffs. In failing to do our work the way we hope to, we harmed those impacted by water affordability and those working tirelessly to seek accountability and meaningful community-led solutions. We are deeply sorry. | More >

Washington DC Update—June 2022

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | June 29, 2022

The biggest development in water policy this month was the EPA’s new actions on several of the chemicals in the PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) family of chemicals. PFAS are used to make things nonstick, water repellent, and/or stain-resistant and were used in countless consumer, commercial, and industrial products for decades. These chemicals either slowly degrade or do not degrade at all and can build up in living organisms over time and remain there indefinitely. The Biden administration has drastically lowered its existing lifetime health advisories for the two best-known types of PFAS, known as PFOS and PFOA—both of which have been phased out of use by US manufacturers. These new advisories are set at “near-zero” levels, below what can be currently measured by existing technology and replacing 2016 guidelines that set them at 70 parts per trillion (ppt). | More >

Onsite Water Reuse and Affordable Housing: An Equitable Investment

Jorge Losoya, Jennifer Walker, and Jonathan Seefeldt, National Wildlife Federation: Texas Living Waters Project | June 15, 2022

In the shadow of a snarling interstate exchange just a few blocks south of downtown Minneapolis, a patchwork of gardens grows around a set of colorful buildings. The greenery is, in fact, a rain garden system, capturing and filtering rainwater from the surrounding roofs. Built atop a former brownfield site long associated with urban blight, Minneapolis’ Rose Apartments may seem an unusual setting for onsite water reuse—a growing suite of technologies often associated with commercial or niche development projects. Yet localized capture, treatment, and re-deployment of water is simpler and more affordable than it may seem, and its broad benefits have the potential to make a significant positive impact on a critical area many water-reuse advocates have so far overlooked: the nation’s growing affordable housing crisis.  | More >

Water Leaders Step Up for the Planet

Katy Lackey, Director of Climate Action, US Water Alliance | May 25, 2022

Good climate news is hard to find these days. Summer is heating up, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest forecast indicates all 50 states can expect record hot temperatures, with two-thirds of the US likely to experience rolling blackouts. More attribution studies confirm climate change is making heatwaves and storms more severe, linking billions of dollars in damage. Many of these changes are already locked in, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Meanwhile, our window to avert the worst of what’s to come is rapidly closing.  | More >

What it Means to Support Equitable State Investments in Water Infrastructure

Emily Simonson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, US Water Alliance | May 16, 2022

The current federal and state system of water infrastructure funding is designed to improve the way we move, treat, or store water, wastewater, or stormwater. It’s not inherently designed to target disparities in infrastructure quality and service. Addressing these disparities requires reimagining the dominant ways water is funded in the United States. At the same time, the water investments coming through the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are already slated to flow through long-standing channels, so those who care about advancing equity must continue to innovate within this existing system. | More >

Centering Water Equity in Capital Projects: Applying Equitable Infrastructure Principles Across the Infrastructure Cycle

Emily Simonson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, US Water Alliance | April 1, 2022

Water infrastructure is the backbone of thriving communities and ecosystems. With the historic federal investment into our water systems, water utilities and those who work closely with them can lead the charge to help ensure new dollars don’t lead to business-as-usual outcomes. The US Water Alliance’s Equitable Infrastructure Principles aspire to ensure federal water investments and outcomes are equitable, resilient, and capable of delivering multiple benefits, but can only do so when applied across the infrastructure cycle. In this way, water investments can strongly contribute to everyone's ability to thrive—which is more important now than ever, as we collectively face aging and failing water infrastructure, climate impacts, pollution, emerging contaminants, cyber threats, workforce shortages, and increasing economic inequality. | More >