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Build Support for Clean Water: Engage with Your Congressional Delegation During August Recess
As August approaches, utilities have a valuable opportunity to make their voices heard and advocate for critical clean water solutions. During the Congressional August recess, when members of Congress return to their home states and districts for extended work periods, utilities can engage directly with their federal elected representatives to highlight the importance of clean water investment and the challenges utilities face in safeguarding public health and the environment.
Why Engage During August Recess?
The August recess provides a unique window to connect with Congressional Delegations on a more personal level. During this time, legislators are more likely to be in their home districts, away from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C., and open to meeting with their constituents. By taking advantage of this opportunity, we can effectively raise awareness about the pressing issues impacting our communities and advocate for meaningful solutions before legislators return for end-of-the-year dealmaking on important issues including federal funding and PFAS.
Consider a Facility Tour to Showcase the Impact of Clean Water Efforts
One powerful way to convey the importance of clean water initiatives is to invite your Congressional Delegation members to tour your facilities. As many utilities know, tours showcase the essential work utilities provide 24/7/365, and allow you to offer firsthand insights into current water quality challenges and the innovative solutions utilities employ to protect our water resources.
Think about emphasizing the following key points with your delegation:
- Environmental Impact: Highlight the leading role clean water facilities play in safeguarding the environment and protecting our shared natural resources.
- Public Health: Demonstrate how clean water agencies are critical entities in their communities doing the work necessary every single day to protect public health and well-being.
- Investment in Infrastructure and Water Affordability: Highlight the impact that federal infrastructure investments will have for the water sector generally and your community specifically, and showcase the need for continued investment in water infrastructure to address aging systems, prepare for future challenges, and help keep rates more affordable.
- The Need for Workable, Science-Driven Policy: Discuss emerging challenges your utility and community face from today’s most high-profile water issues – perhaps PFAS, nutrients, or climate resilience. Share the steps you are taking and the constraints you face in trying to address challenges for which there is no easy clean water solution. These issues garner lots of attention in Washington but it is critical that policymakers hear from you as utilities confronting these issues on the ground in their local districts.
- Job Creation: Illustrate how clean water projects support local economies and provide valuable job opportunities within the community.
- Offer Specifics: No one knows the challenges your utility faces better than you. Don’t shy away from getting into more detail on issues with particular importance to your utility. Please reach out to a member of NACWA’s government affairs team with questions or help on specific topics. A more in-depth overview of NACWA’s legislative priorities is provided in our 118th Congressional priorities letter.
To ensure successful engagement with your Congressional Delegation, consider the following tips:
- Plan in Advance: Reach out to your legislators' offices early to schedule the facility tour and meetings. NACWA has developed a Congressional Toolbox - your ultimate resource for engaging with your U.S. Congressperson or Senator. Here, you'll find everything you need to prepare, contact, and arrange a meeting with your elected representatives. Additionally, we offer comprehensive resources to help you plan and execute a compelling facility tour with lawmakers.
- Be Clear and Concise: Prepare a short and impactful message about the critical issues you wish to discuss, focusing on your specific challenges and needs.
- Offer Data and Evidence: Support your claims with data and evidence, demonstrating the positive impact of clean water initiatives on the local community. Your unique story will resonate most with your elected leaders, but feel free to access NACWA’s Advocacy Priorities page to learn more about specific areas of national clean water concern, including: PFAS, integrated planning, environmental justice, and more!
- Collective Voice: Collaborate with other NACWA members in your area to present a united front and emphasize the broad impact of clean water efforts.
Share Your Experience
After your meetings and facility tours, share your experiences with the NACWA community. By exchanging insights, we can learn from one another and strengthen our collective advocacy efforts.
Together, We Can Make a Difference
By taking advantage of the August recess to engage with our Congressional Delegations and inviting them to tour our facilities, we have an opportunity to underscore the significance of clean water initiatives for our communities, the environment, and the essential services the public clean water sector provides.
Your commitment to clean water advocacy can influence policy decisions and bring about positive change. Let's seize this moment to amplify our voices and work together towards a sustainable and clean water future!
Please contact any member of NACWA’s government affairs team with any questions or to discuss your plans for August recess.