NACWA testified before the Senate Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife Subcommittee last week, in a hearing about Innovative Funding and Financing: Addressing America’s Crumbling Water Infrastructure. The Association was represented by NACWA Board Member and Executive Director of Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, Andrew Kricun.
Through the hearing, the Subcommittee sought to understand the infrastructure investment gap and the significant challenges many communities and utilities are facing. It also provided an opportunity for NACWA to flesh out the challenges and opportunities presented by infrastructure investment in local communities across the country.
Kricun testified that the infrastructure gap is already significant, and the anticipated growth of damaging events from a changing climate poses even greater challenges. He described the impact that Superstorm Sandy had on Camden County, and he recommended that utilities take a multi-pronged approach to addressing the infrastructure gap: embracing the private sector’s credo of fostering efficiency to reduce costs and improve performance, while also advocating the protection and strengthening of federal tools such as the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Kricun also discussed “Utility of the Future” concepts that Camden County and other utilities are leading, and how the challenges of affordability and rising rates pose hardship to low income ratepayers.
The hearing struck a positive tone, and testimony seemed to be well-received by the Subcommittee, with Senators visibly engaging on the topic. The hearing set the stage for continued discussions and helped ensure that water remains at the forefront of infrastructure conversations.
NACWA looks forward to continuing engagement with Congress on this critical issue. For more information, contact Kristina Surfus, NACWA’s Legislative Director.