NACWA joined with an array of water sector association partners last week to celebrate Water Week 2017 in Washington, DC, bringing hundreds of clean water professionals from around the country to the nation’s capital to elevate water as a national priority. Participants met with their members of Congress, spoke with officials from EPA, and networked with one another as they sought to educate national policymakers on critical clean water issues.
Water Week 2017 constituted the largest gathering since the meeting’s inception and was highlighted by the first ever Rally for Water, which drew an energized crowd to Capitol Hill’s Upper Senate Park to hear remarks in support from Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), along with municipal utility and state leaders from across the country. All of the speakers emphasized the crucial role that clean water plays economically and environmentally at the national, state and local community level. All speakers highlighted the importance of a continued partnership in funding water infrastructure.
The week also featured a widely attended Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill on March 22, which brought all participating water sector groups together to celebrate a strong, unified commitment to water and water advocacy. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Boozman (R-AR), James Inhofe (R-OK), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Gary Peters (D-MI) and several members of the House of Representatives spoke at the Reception, echoing a bipartisan message of support for investing in the nation’s aging water infrastructure and water’s importance to our daily lives.
The anchor event of Water Week was the Nation Water Policy Fly-In, jointly hosted by NACWA, the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), the Water Research Foundation (WRF), and the WateReuse Association. The Fly-In featured speakers from EPA and congressional staff discussing current regulatory and legislative priorities at the national level. Participants also engaged in discussion with EPA staff via roundtable discussions on a number of key issue areas.
Other national groups collaborating on Water Week included the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the U.S. Water Alliance, the Water & Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA), and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA). A broad coalition of state and regional groups supported the effort as well.
NACWA thanks all the participants, partnering organizations and supporters of Water Week 2017 and looks forward to building on this success for Water Week 2018!