The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) believes that states should determine water supply policies and administer water supply programs while leveraging, as appropriate, federal laws such as the Safe Drinking Water Act(SDWA) and the National Environmental Policy Act. AMWA believes that delegated implementation of federal programs (“State Primacy”) such as is practiced under the SDWA serves both federal and state interests in an effective national drinking water program.
The cost of administering the regulatory requirements of SDWA will continue to grow in the future and increased funding for state program implementation will be needed. AMWA believes that federal funding for the state administration of safe drinking water programs should be increased to cover the full costs of these federally mandated requirements. Any additional related state drinking water quality programs should be funded from the states’ general revenue sources. To the extent that states impose fees and other direct charges on regulated water supplies, these fees and charges should be based upon demonstrable costs, equitably applied to all water suppliers, and not used to displace current funding.
- Local communities have a much closer relationship with states than they do with the federal government. States are therefore in a better position to understand and respond to the needs and priorities of urban water suppliers and the people they serve.
- Financial resources vary among the states and among localities within a state. Accordingly, each state should be free to set compliance schedules that realistically reflect a water utility’s ability to meet the deadlines, consistent with protection of public health.
- Separating the enactment of regulations from the financial responsibility for their implementation removes incentives for the regulators to weigh the overall societal impacts (benefits and costs) of their requirements against the finite resources available.
- In many states, water suppliers already pay taxes or other fees to their states’ general funds. In some instances, these tax and fee collections already exceed the budgeted cost of state drinking water programs.
- In many states, general fund commitments to drinking water programs have not only not kept pace with regulatory growth, but have remained static or retreated in the face of that growth.