Washington DC Update—May 2021

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | May 27, 2021

After last month’s release of the American Jobs Plan, which calls for $111 billion in water infrastructure investment, water is still in the spotlight. While the Biden Administration has not yet received Republican support for what is now his $1.7 trillion infrastructure proposal, Senator Manchin (D-WV) has asked for more time to help build a bipartisan package and Senate Republicans are slated to announce a new counteroffer close to $1 trillion. However, Speaker Pelosi indicated that an infrastructure package could be brought to the House floor before the July 4th holiday, making bipartisan compromise in the House very unlikely.  | More >

Recovering Stronger: State Innovations—Mountain & Southwest Region: Recovery isn’t Zero-sum

Joya Banerjee and Sarah Huckins | May 25, 2021

Across the Mountain and Southwest region, intersecting crises are driving powerful responses. The region is experiencing a “megadrought,” with several states experiencing their most intense period of drought since 2020. Looking towards the dry summer months, leaders are concerned about increased water restrictions and wildfires. Winter Storm Uri also devastated Texas, as subfreezing temperatures shut down the state’s electricity infrastructure—resulting in broken pipes and shortages of water, food, and heat. These severe weather events, made more intense and frequent by climate change, are creating pressure on top of a year of deep stress from COVID-19.   | More >

Recovering Stronger: State Innovations—Midwest Region: Expanding Possibilities

Joya Banerjee and Sarah Huckins | May 25, 2021

After a devastating year following the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, signs of hope are beginning to shine through. The Alliance convened the Recovering Stronger Midwest Listening Session against the backdrop of the vaccine rollout and the release of the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan, which includes a historic $111 billion for water infrastructure investment. With the introduction of this plan, the water sector is seeing new partnership emerging at the federal level, after decades of disinvestment.    | More >

Washington DC Update—April 2021

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | April 27, 2021

Less than a month after releasing the American Rescue Plan, President Biden made history once again. On the last day of March, President Biden released the American Jobs Plan, which calls for an unprecedented $111 billion in water infrastructure investment. After decades of chronic underinvestment in the nation’s water infrastructure, the American Jobs Plan signals a stark contrast from the status quo. | More >

Washington DC Update—March 2021

Scott Berry, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, US Water Alliance | March 26, 2021

March has been a historic month. Almost exactly a year after coronavirus was declared a pandemic, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion relief package that closely mirrored his American Rescue Plan, which he announced on Inauguration day. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed in the Senate 50-49, and then in the House 220-211, sending it to President Biden’s desk. A key provision of the relief package is $500 million in one-time water rate assistance, which is on top of the $638 million in water bill debt relief that was included in last  December’s Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  | More >

Recovering Stronger: State Innovations—West Region: Respond, Recover, and Reimagine

Joya Banerjee and Sarah Huckins | March 24, 2021

The West, and the nation, are facing myriad challenges. Years of devastating climate impacts, like droughts, wildfires, and heat waves, have left many in the West struggling to make ends meet. This has been compounded over the last year by the COVID-19 pandemic, which laid inequities bare and highlighted how deeply embedded those inequities are. But times of upheaval can lead to lasting change. | More >

Renewal: A Water Reflection

Benny Starr, US Water Alliance Artist-in-Residence | March 22, 2021

As a Black man born and raised in the American South, I cannot divorce the way I have been created from the art that I create; both of which I will always see as beautiful and enduring. It is for that reason, that I am deeply honored to share my inclusion in Grist 50, an annual list of emerging leaders who are working on real-world solutions to our world’s biggest challenges. This acknowledgment of my art and my identity comes at a time when so many of us require a renewal of hope and a radical reimagining of our society. As I reflect on my experience as a creator in a time of hardship, I have reaffirmed the need for art not just in the way we work, but in the way we live and connect with each other. Art can be the way we find ourselves again as we emerge from the past year.  | More >

World Water Day—Valuing Water Today and Everyday

US Water Alliance | March 22, 2021

This year, our country faced an enormous public health crisis. The coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the critical role that water and wastewater systems play in communities—protecting public health, safeguarding the environment, and making a healthy economy possible. On World Water Day, together we can take this opportunity to notice the way that water systems impact our lives and to commit to ensuring a sustainable water future for generations to come. | More >

Reimagining the CCR: A Simple Way to Build Trust in Our Water

Joya Banerjee and Samantha Villegas | February 25, 2021

Each year, 50,000 water utilities across the United States provide customers with a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), reporting on drinking water quality, regulated contaminants such as lead or arsenic found in the water, and any water violations. But many CCRs are out of touch with what consumers need to understand their water and whether it is safe to drink. Fortunately, through better communication about water quality, utilities can build trust with consumers, gain consumers’ support for investments in their water infrastructure, and then ideally provide better water. | More >

Washington DC Update—February 2021

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

The first month of President Biden’s term has been defined by the urgent need to support pandemic relief and recovery efforts. One of President Biden’s first actions in office was to issue an Executive Order on Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic to provide immediate support to struggling Americans. In the release of the Executive Order, the White House called on Congress to “finish the job” of providing economic relief by passing the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden put forth before assuming office. To that end, throughout the past month Congress has been working to pass COVID relief legislation through the budget reconciliation process, which allows legislation affecting federal spending and revenue to pass by a simple majority. | More >