Drinking Water, Wastewater Legislation Begins to Bring Water Infrastructure into 21st Century

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 — led by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Cynthia Lummis (W-Wyo.) and advanced by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — will help ensure more Americans have access to clean drinking water thanks to investments in water programs nationwide.

“The water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi caused by last month’s winter storm underscores not only why we need to address historic inequities in access to clean water, but also why this legislation is so badly needed,” said Jessie Ritter, director of water resources and coastal policy for the National Wildlife Federation. “This bill will begin to bring our water infrastructure into the 21st century, creating good-paying jobs and restoring aquatic habitat for wildlife. The full Senate should take up this bill and build upon its investments in clean water infrastructure and environmental justice.”

The bill also takes steps to ensure rural, Tribal, low-income, and underserved communities have access to federal water infrastructure programs and charts a course to identify new opportunities to improve the distribution of these funds in a more equitable way to communities who need it most.

The National Wildlife Federation urged lawmakers, as negotiations continue, to make significant increases in Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds to more adequately address the overwhelming water infrastructure backlog, include additional assistance for frontline communities in the form of grants, require states to use at least 20 percent of their clean water funds on green infrastructure projects, and establish a permanent federal program to provide assistance to low-income communities to help keep struggling households connected to essential water and wastewater service.




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