Public Clean Water Sector Applauds House Committee Proposal for $500 Million Appropriation in Low-Income Water Customer Assistance but More Needed ​

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2021                                                               

Media Contact:­
David Zielonka | Manager, Media and Communications
(202) 981-3786 | dzielonka@nacwa.org

                                                          

Statement from NACWA Encourages Further Investment to Meet Increased Need as Result of Pandemic

(Washington, D.C.) – The House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee marked up their contribution to the next COVID-19 relief bill on Thursday. Included was an additional $500 million for the Low-Income Water Customer Assistance Program administered by Health and Human Services, bringing the potential total amount for low-income water assistance to $1.138 billion when combined with the $638 million appropriated by Congress in the December 2020 COVID-19 relief package.

While these funds are appreciated and will make a significant difference in the lives of millions of Americans who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the additional proposed $500 million simply does not meet the urgent need faced by households who are struggling to pay their water and sewer bills as a result of the pandemic and ensuing economic downturn. Clean water and drinking water utilities estimate the total need to be $8.7 billion to cover the costs of providing access to clean water and drinking water services to newly financially insecure households.

Nathan Gardner-Andrews, NACWA’s General Counsel and Chief Advocacy Officer, issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the public clean water sector, NACWA applauds the effort made by the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee today to deliver an additional $500 million to low-income water customers. This second tranche of funding illustrates beyond a doubt that Congress recognizes the urgent need to cover the costs of providing clean water services to households that are currently unable to pay – an expensive and complex endeavor that individual utilities are simply unable to cover by themselves.

“However, this additional money comes nowhere near to meeting the financial needs facing millions of Americans right now who are struggling to pay water and sewer bills. If Congress wants to help these vulnerable households and ensure water utilities can continue to provide their essential services, even more money is needed. 

“NACWA looks forward to continuing to work with the House E&C Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to enhance this funding and ensure it is promptly distributed to customers in need. Moreover, NACWA will continue working with both the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as the Biden Administration, to secure additional investments that will ensure affordable water for all Americans.”

 

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About NACWA

For 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation’s recognized leader in legislative, regulatory, legal and communications advocacy on the full spectrum of clean water issues. NACWA represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide. Our unique and growing network strengthens the advocacy voice for the public clean water sector and helps advance policies to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for all.  Our vision is to advance sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help to shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. For more information, visit us at www.nacwa.org.

 

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