During Water Week 2019, March 31 – April 6, individuals belonging to influential water treatment public works organizations gathered at Capitol Hill to implore the Trump Administration and Congress to discuss spending in water research, reuse, and infrastructure. Hundreds of stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water professionals met to discuss and advocate for national policies that will further their cause for safe, affordable, clean, and sustainable water for the American public.
A few contributing organizations included the US Water Alliance, the Water Environment Federation, the American Water Works Association, American Public Works Association, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, The Water Research Foundation, WaterReuse Association, and Water & Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association.
All of these organizations advocate for a much-needed overhaul of American water sector spending. This is due to issues caused by climate change, water sector workforce shortages, an increase in water quality concerns, and aging infrastructure that supplies water for public use. A few of the key points included:
· Funding for the Water Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (WIFIA) program should be fully authorized at the level of $50 million for 2020.
· $20 million should be allocated for the National Priorities Water Research Grant Program.
· $100 million should be appropriated for the Bureau of Reclamation water reuse and recycling competitive grants program by increasing the authorization of said program.
· Fund the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utility Service and Water/Wastewater Loans at $2 billion and grants at $500 million.
· Fully fund new grant programs created in America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.
· Reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) for 2019 and increase spending for the Fund in 2020.
The improvement of existing public infrastructure for water treatment and wastewater treatment is vital to the health of our country. Many government programs are stepping up to help prevent possible issues that could arise in the future; programs such as the Federal Lead Action Plan promise to protect children from lead exposure that could be caused from aging water infrastructure. There are also steps in place to update the lead and copper rule for the first time in two decades to ensure the safety of the American public.
There have been steps in the right direction: just last year, the Environmental Protection Agency closed seven Water Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Acts loans, which totaled nearly $2 billion after everything was said and done. This spending is estimated to help create up to 6,000 jobs, as well as help finance over $4 billion for water infrastructure.
Water safety and infrastructure is an utmost priority and should be at the forefront of funding and national policy. Manufacturing processes use millions of gallons of water a day to produce food, automobiles, textiles, building materials, technology, and anything else you can imagine. In fact, it is estimated that production processes for a single car use over 39,000 gallons of water! Sometimes this estimate does not even include tire production. As such, water reuse is an incredibly important part of water reform. The implementation of new water recycling technologies will reduce the amount of clean drinking water used in manufacturing processes that should, in actuality, be used for public drinking sources.
Although Water Week 2019 is over, Drinking Water Week is fast approaching! This year it will be observed May 5th – May 11th to celebrate and educate the community about the vital importance of safe drinking water. If you live in the United States, you – most likely – don’t think about the immense privilege you have, being able to access clean drinking water no matter where you go. The faucet, the gas station, the restaurant you may be going to tonight… all have clean H20 that is safe to drink. In many other countries, clean drinking water is not a given, with many people having to walk miles each day to the nearest well for safe drinking water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water week 2018’s theme was “Protect the Source”. The week encouraged the public to learn more about where their drinking water actually comes from, why its protection is important to public safety and national security, and how “drinking water systems in the United States are aging, and [how] most are long overdue for replacement” (CDC). Many drinking water systems in the U.S. are almost a century old! These aging systems can lead to issues such as water main breaks, lead contamination, cracked pipes, and other breakages causing bacterial or chemical contamination. As a result, the American Water Works Association estimates that it will cost nearly $1 trillion to update our drinking water system over the next 25 years.
To meet the demands of a growing population, our drinking water systems must be repaired, improved, and expanded. Implementation of proper water reuse and recycling also comes into play, as nearly a quarter of the world’s water is used in manufacturing processes that can ultimately utilize this technology.
At IFM, we understand the importance of the reuse and recycling of our world’s most important resource. Whether you are attempting to minimize water use, maximize water reuse, or take a step closer to your water cycle goals, please call your water cycle expert at (866) 435-4436 to design your next water treatment solution.