(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the United States Senate passed the American Rescue Plan Act, legislation to deliver additional COVID-19 relief that contains $500 million in assistance for clean and drinking water customers and support for critical water and sewer investments. The funding for low-income water assistance comes in addition to the initial $638 million provided in the December 2020 FY21 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
Additionally, the Senate relief package makes water and sewer infrastructure needs explicitly eligible to access $350 billion through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which are intended to address COVID-19 expenses, lost state and local revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or necessary investments in water, sewer, and broadband.
Adam Krantz, CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and Diane VanDe Hei, CEO of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, issued the following joint statement:
“The public water sector is grateful to the U.S. Senate for including $500 million in additional assistance to low-income water customers in the American Rescue Plan Act. This makes clear that Congress recognizes the critical role of public drinking water and clean water services and the increased strain many households are facing in paying their water bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn.
“The public water sector is also very grateful to the Senate for recognizing water and sewer investments as a critical part of COVID-19 relief and allowing them to access assistance through the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Access to this additional funding will allow struggling water utilities to reach their full commitment to protect the public health and environment.
“NACWA and AMWA are currently working to center these critical issues of water investment and affordability through our joint Affordable Water, Resilient Communities campaign. These challenges have been growing due to increasing economic pressures which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of public water utilities across the country working non-stop to maintain safe, reliable, and affordable water services, we strongly applaud the Senate for recognizing and addressing these needs. We look forward to President Biden signing this historic legislation into law. In the months ahead we will continue to work with the 117th Congress and Biden administration to address barriers to water access and affordability and ensure reinvestment in critical infrastructure.”
For 40 years, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) has been the nation’s unified and definitive voice for the nation’s largest publicly owned drinking water systems on regulatory, legislative, and security issues. AMWA fulfills its mission through the sharing of management, scientific, and technical information to support sound utility operations, effective utility leadership, safe and secure water supplies, and effective public communication on drinking water quality. For more information, visit us at www.amwa.net.
For 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation’s recognized leader in advancing sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. NACWA seeks to fulfill this mission through its national recognition/awards program, its clean water advocacy and communications, and its peer-to-peer utility network to share best practices from coast-to-coast. For more information, visit us at www.nacwa.org.