Antoinette Barber, [email protected]
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), an organization of the largest publicly owned drinking water utilities in the United States and their CEOs, wrote to EPA Administrator Michael Regan to highlight a number of major issues of mutual concern.
AMWA stated that helping communities and the water utilities serving them become more resilient to climate change and extreme events should be a top priority for EPA, particularly as the agency awards infrastructure grants and loans. This approach would also present an opportunity for EPA to address several of the administration’s key priorities including protecting public health and the environment, addressing longstanding environmental justice and equity issues, and creating economic opportunity.
Also, EPA should consider how investing in water infrastructure and innovation can achieve additional resilience benefits, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve environmental justice outcomes.
In light of recent cybersecurity incidents, AMWA encouraged EPA to continue its collaboration with the nation's water utilities and support WaterISAC, the federally initiated international security network created by and for the water and wastewater sector.
AMWA also asserted that EPA take a more equitable approach to environmental protection by leveraging the Toxic Substances Control Act to better safeguard drinking water sources from contaminants. The association added that addressing environmental contamination, before it reaches consumers via their tap water, should be part of EPA’s approach to tackling PFAS.
Both EPA and water utilities have steep challenges ahead related to climate resiliency, emerging contaminants, equity, affordability, and cybersecurity. And, therefore, the letter notes, AMWA and the agency should work together to address them.