As parts of Texas and Louisiana continue the recovery process from Hurricane Harvey and its related flooding, NACWA’s thoughts and the support of the entire Association are with all the impacted communities – especially those NACWA member utilities that have been affected. NACWA reached out to all of its Texas members last week offering any assistance necessary, including engagement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure appropriate relief assistance for clean water utilities. As many utilities and their staff members deal with disruption and personal property losses in their own lives, their continued dedication to restoring full utility service as quickly as possible demonstrates the amazing commitment of clean water agencies and professionals throughout the impacted area.
Although damage assessments are still ongoing, initial reports from EPA, according to the Washington Post, suggest at least 800 wastewater facilities and 200 water systems are not fully operational. This creates potential public health and environmental risks for many residents in the affected areas and adds to the list of devastation from the storm. It also reminds all of us about the critical importance of water infrastructure in communities all across the country.
As Congress moves to quickly consider a relief package for those impacted by Harvey (see related story), and eventually looks to consideration of a broader national infrastructure bill, NACWA will continue to forcefully advocate for additional water infrastructure funding – including support for infrastructure resiliency to deal with increasingly devastating natural disasters.