The federal government plays an important role in funding for the nation‚ pipes and treatment plants. While 90 percent of the costs for building drinking water and wastewater systems are paid for by ratepayers, the federal government steps in with funding for major infrastructure needs in communities. Most of the federal share comes from State Revolving Funds , the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
In 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives took an important step to keep America‚ water clean and safe by authorizing $14 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for the next four years. This state revolving loan fund offers critical funds needed to close the 20-year, $440 billion shortfall between available funds and what is needed to ensure that America‚ drinking water and water sources meet minimum standards established by the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
Congress must approve state revolving funds each year. In recent years, as the funding gap has increased, Congress has appropriated fewer and fewer federal dollars every year. Getting support for water investments can often be a challenge as more visible issues often take priority.
An annual political battle over funding for something as basic to life as water makes no sense. National priorities that transcend state and local boundaries should receive perpetual funding streams immune from shifting political currents.
There are trust funds for highways, airports and social security. Water is a public responsibility. It‚ time for a trust fund that protects our water and keeps it clean and safe.
Learn more about a protecting America’s water with a trust fund.