Washington DC Update—March 2022

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

March has been an active month on the policy front. Continuing the work of the last several months and coming right down to the wire of the March 11 deadline, Congress managed to agree on and pass a $1.5 trillion omnibus appropriations package to fund the government through the remainder of FY22. Of note is that $2.77 billion of the omnibus has been allocated for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs), which is equal to the 2021 enacted level. This is good news, as some had feared that the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)—which was always intended to supplement infrastructure appropriations—might cause a reduction. Those fears appear to be unfounded, as $2.77 billion will go out on top of the money in year one of IIJA.  | More >

Imagination Team Unveils Net Zero Plus: A 2050 Vision and Cultural Transformation for Water’s Role in Climate Mitigation

Katy Lackey, Director of Climate Action, US Water Alliance | March 22, 2022

Conversations on climate action are evolving to include water as part of the solution to our rapidly changing environment. Climate stresses are often felt as water stresses; from more droughts and fires to sea level rise and increasingly severe flooding from hurricanes and storm surges. For decades, the water sector has developed and implemented innovative strategies to better manage these impacts, adapt to our changing climate, and foster utility and community resilience. With the water sector increasingly hit by billion-dollar disasters and serving communities facing compounding climate impacts, many water professionals want to do more.  | More >

Washington DC Update—February 2022

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | February 28, 2022

There are several factors slowing progress in Congress and leading to uncertainty. Congress’s attention has been occupied for much of February on funding for FY22—which we are now five months into. After passing the third Continuing Resolution earlier this month to continue funding the government and avoid a government shutdown, leadership on both sides of the aisle have stated their continued commitment to passing an appropriations omnibus package that will fully fund the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year (through September 30). Expectations remain optimistic to get this FY22 package across the finish line by the new deadline of March 11. | More >

Thriving in Place Through Water Investment: Principles for Equitable Infrastructure

Emily Simonson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, US Water Alliance | February 24, 2022

Signed into law in 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is the largest federal investment in water infrastructure in 50 years—a vital down payment on investments long needed in water and for communities. This opportunity provides the water sector a moment to re-envision the power and possibilities of infrastructure investments. This is a moment to center water equity, climate action, economic opportunity, and One Water in water infrastructure and capital projects. The following Principles for Equitable Infrastructure Implementation provide some guidance for water and wastewater utilities, community partners, planners, engineers, architects, environmental justice leaders, educators, artists and culture bearers, and residents to work collaboratively to make the most of this moment | More >

California Illuminates Strategies for Community-Driven Utility Consolidations and Partnerships

Emily Simonson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, US Water Alliance | February 22, 2022

Conversations about utility cooperation models—like partnerships, regionalization, consolidation—picked up significantly in the Summer of 2020. At the height of pandemic restrictions, smaller utilities had a harder time managing protracted revenue shortfalls, backfilling for essential workers who fell ill, and implementing emergency measures. Yet cooperation models are not the only solutions available, and when not community-driven, they can have serious negative externalities concerning utility governance, affordability, and water democracy. | More >

Washington DC Update—January 2022

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | January 24, 2022

With the fate of the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better stalled without the support of Senators Joe Manchin (D-WC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), some Senate Democrats have been mulling the idea of breaking the Build Back Better into a series of smaller bills. President Biden also acknowledged that passing pieces of the bill might provide a path forward, especially given Senator Manchin’s support of the $555 billion climate provision. However, it may be that the Senate won’t have multiple opportunities to use the budget reconciliation process, which enables Democrats to pass legislation with a simple majority. Also at play is whether or not another scaled-back package, or packages, would receive support from progressives, so it is not yet clear how Congress will proceed. Additionally, this month saw the release of final guidance from the Treasury Department about infrastructure funding in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). | More >

Washington DC Update—November 2021

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | November 23, 2021

November has certainly been a historic month for infrastructure—specifically water infrastructure. After being passed by the Senate back in August, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, known colloquially as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package) languished in the House. This was largely due to disagreement on a second piece of legislation, the Build Back Better Act (the Democrats-only social spending and climate bill, also referred to as the Reconciliation bill). Progressives in the House had hoped for a bigger infrastructure bill (closer to what the President proposed back in March in his American Jobs Plan) but were okay to stomach a smaller bill in hopes of getting more of their priorities into a larger reconciliation bill that wouldn’t need bipartisan support. | More >

The Last Water Equity Taskforce Roadmap is Finally Here!

Gina Wammock, Senior Fellow, US Water Alliance | November 9, 2021

We are delighted to announce the release of the final Water Equity Roadmap from the Alliance’s seven original Water Equity Taskforce teams! An Equitable Water Future: Atlanta is now complete—after a delay attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic—and it is a strong example of what is possible with intention and commitment to improving water equity. | More >

Reimagining Water in Little Rock, Arkansas

Sara Allen | October 27, 2021

Day to day, most of us turn on the tap, water flows, then down the drain it goes. Out of sight, out of mind. This year, Imagine a Day Without Water took place on October 21, 2021. This annual event put on by the US Water Alliance and Value of Water Campaign asks people to consider how even one day without water would affect our lives. It would be a public health and safety crisis, as well as an economic disaster. Imagine a Day Without Water helps highlight how water is essential, invaluable, and in need of investment. | More >

US Water Prize for Outstanding Public Sector Organization: Tucson Water

US Water Alliance | August 24, 2021

Twenty years ago, Tucson was the largest American city solely reliant on pumping groundwater for its water needs. Tucson Water has since diversified its water portfolio through One Water projects, and in the past two years, they have undertaken three key projects that advance the goal of effectively managing Tucson’s multiple water resources. | More >