The Value of Water Campaign is so proud to be a part of an outstanding group of labor unions and associations to host the first-ever convening of presidential candidates to discuss issues surrounding America’s infrastructure. This event has been months in the making, and we couldn’t be more excited to share the news. Gathering all the leading presidential candidates together to hear their plans for America’s infrastructure and ask questions about all the most important challenges facing our pipes, ports, roads, and rails is going to be a great opportunity to put infrastructure – and water infrastructure – in the national spotlight.
Moving America Forward: A Presidential Candidate Forum on Infrastructure, Jobs, and Building a Better America will be held on Sunday, February 16, 2020, in Las Vegas. Our host committee has invited leading candidates from both parties to participate in moderated one-on-one conversations that will highlight each candidate’s priorities and agenda for transportation, water, and related sectors.
America pioneered sewer and drinking water infrastructure more than a century ago, providing immense public health, economic, and environmental benefits. But much of the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure is aging, and in some communities, failing. Investment has not kept up with the need. The US needs to invest a total of $123 billion (in 2016 dollars) per year in water infrastructure over the next decade to achieve a state of good repair. Changing weather patterns and drought are putting additional stress on water and wastewater infrastructure and degrading water quality.
It’s time for America to make a renewed investment in our nation’s water systems, anchored in partnership between water providers and local, state, and federal governments. As we launch a new era of investment, we need to take the politics out of water decision making, and focus on what’s best for our communities long-term. There is so much to gain from investing in water, from a public health and safety perspective to the economic benefits. The US economy would gain over $220 billion in annual economic activity by meeting its water infrastructure needs. Closing the water infrastructure gap would create 1.3 million jobs.
In time where many issues feel divisive, water unites us. Water ignores political boundaries, and “red” or “blue” areas. We all need water to survive. It is essential to our public health, economy, and our environment. Not only does water connect us all, our annual Value of Water index [hyperlink to VOW website] shows that there is overwhelming support among all Americans to invest in our water systems.
We hope you will tune into the Forum on Sunday, February 16, and tweet and share your impressions. We’ll be sharing more information about how to tune in on TV or via live stream soon. In the meantime, what do you hope presidential candidates will address? Get involved in the conversation now by tweeting @TheValueOfWater or flagging your questions by using the hashtag #MovingAmericaForward. We’ll be looking for good questions to ask the candidates! Learn more about the forum at infrastructureforum.org.