Support the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act (S.692)!

What You Can Do: Contact your Senators to urge them to cosponsor S. 692 today

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reported out S. 692, the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act on April 5, 2017.  The bipartisan legislation is sponsored by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Rob Portman (R-OH), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).  NACWA is urging our members to reach out to your Senators and ask them to cosponsor the bill. 

Background:  Municipalities face a nearly $300 billion in investment challenge in clean water infrastructure needs over the next twenty years nationally and an additional $300 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs.  As they face this investment challenge, they are increasingly under pressure to provide clean and safe water services at an affordable cost to ratepayers.  According to a 2013 survey of wastewater treatment operators, sewer rates are expected to increase at double the rate of inflation or more over the next decade, while rates in many urban areas are expected to increase two to three times the national average - and these rates do not reflect rates charged for drinking water services.  Much of the pressure on sewer rates is being driven by a variety of factors including repairing and replacing old pipes and treatment systems, meeting more stringent water quality standards, and managing wet weather-related challenges in the face of a changing climate.  The Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act (WIFA) adds new tools to the Clean Water Act (CWA) toolbox to help municipalities more affordably meet their water infrastructure investment challenges.  During the 114th Congress, this legislative proposal garnered bipartisan support from 95 Senators. 

Highlights:

  • Codification of EPA’s Integrated Planning and Permitting process as an option for municipalities to address wastewater and stormwater management needs;

  • Providing municipalities flexibility to consider alternative approaches, such as green infrastructure, to comply with CWA requirements;

  • Authorizing use of compliance schedules to meet water quality-based standards;

  • Establishment of an Office of Municipal Ombudsman to provide technical assistance to municipalities for help complying with CWA and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA); and,

  • Updating Financial Capability Assessment Guidance.    

Take Action Now!

Please write your Member of Congress today to urge support for WIFA!
 

Resources

For more information, please contact Kristina Surfus, NACWA Senior Legislative Director.