After four long years since the start of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, dirty tap water is a thing of the past, right?
The water emergency in Flint is not over, and in fact, the same thing is still happening in dozens of cities across the U.S.
And yet, in many communities in the United States, accessing drinkable water is not as easy as simply turning on a tap.
Our water infrastructure has been crumbling for decades, our water rates are climbing, and federal funding for our public water systems has been at its lowest point in 40 years.
So what is the response of our federal government? The Trump Administration actually wants to decrease funding for public water systems.
In fact, Trump’s infrastructure plan boils down to five projects:
- Privatize local and public water systems so that corporations make a profit and everyday people pay the cost;
- Raise rates so that the one-in-ten people nationally that are already struggling to pay their water bills face even worse circumstances;
- Prioritize wealthy municipalities, leaving low-income towns and communities of color to pay the highest water rates;
- Cut federal funding for public water, eliminate the USDA’s rural water program, and even allow private companies to use federally subsidized water loans to lease and buy public water systems; and
- Gut environmental protections and fast-track potentially high-risk oil and gas projects.
Which is why we’re taking our water woes to Congress.
The WATER Act works to guarantee affordable and clean water for everyone. And we think it’s the sweeping and urgent response that people in Flint, and across the country need.
Right now 14 million households nationwide, still can’t always afford the high costs of their water. And too often that super expensive water isn’t even safe to drink.
This year yet another community came into the limelight with appalling stories about decades of water contamination and often-waterless plights.
As more and more places announce a state of emergency due to lack of water, a national solution becomes more and more necessary. Our pipes are only getting older. As they age, lead and other contaminants are leaching into our water and causing health issues as severe as increased asthma in children.
Unless we do something soon, more than one-third of U.S. households might be unable to afford their water bills.
To get to a real solution, we need to pour money into our deteriorating systems.
The WATER Act would dedicate a source of federal funding for community water and wastewater systems, distributed through grants and the existing State Revolving Funds (SRFs). $35 billion a year to be exact.
It would provide grants to replace lead service lines going into homes, remove lead pipes and plumbing in schools, construct and improve household drinking water wells and upgrade home septic systems.
Instead of forcing everyday working Americans to shoulder the full cost of safe water, the WATER Act ensures Wall Street is paying its fair share. It rolls back a small portion of the Trump administration’s corporate tax cuts to provide a long-term, sustainable source of funding for safe and clean water.