It was recently reported that the president and congressional leaders reached agreement to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package. It is time to raise our voices to ensure that the water sector receives a significant and appropriate portion of those funds.
An opportunity comes during Infrastructure Week, this May 13-20, when water must be heard alongside those advocating for roads, bridges, the power grid, broadband, and more. Infrastructure is a crowded and competitive space, and while water has greatly elevated its profile over the past few years, now is a time to push harder than ever for the resources we desperately need.
The good news is we have the public strongly on our side, and it makes absolute political sense for elected officials to support increased investment in water infrastructure.
The Value of Water Campaign’s fourth annual poll found American voters demonstrate continual bipartisan support for an increase in federal infrastructure investments, believe the president and Congress developing a plan to rebuild our water infrastructure is important, and continue to view rebuilding America’s infrastructure as more important than other top issues. In fact, 85 percent of Americans support (with 52 percent strongly supporting) increasing federal investment to rebuild our water infrastructure—including pipes, pumps, reservoirs, treatment plants, and other facilities. This support has increased more than 10 percentage points over the past three years.
There are a variety of resources available to assist with advocacy. The Infrastructure Week website offers a package of communications content and suggested activities that are easy to adapt for use. Additionally, the Water Environment Federation recommends using this information, materials, and actions to urge members of Congress and other federal officials to make water a central part of a new infrastructure deal:
- Policy Asks: This document outlines the requests for funding and policies that WEF will be communicating to Congress and federal agencies. You can use this information in your communications with members of Congress and federal officials. Note the key requests specific to infrastructure are to increase the FY2020 Clean Water SRF appropriation and reauthorize the program in 2019, fund the Drinking Water SRF at the fully authorized level of $1.3 billion in FY2020, and fund the Water Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (WIFIA) program at or above its fully authorized level of $50 million in FY2020.
- Infographics: These infographics were created by WEF to be used in communicating the value of water and importance of investment in infrastructure. They can be used as handouts during discussions and shared on social media.
- U.S. Overview
- U.S. Region - Northeast
- U.S. Region - South
- U.S. Region - Midwest
- U.S. Region - West
- Suggested Activities:
- Contact the offices of your members of Congress: Let them know it is Infrastructure Week and voice your support for the policy asks. Invite them to visit a water facility or project.
- Post to social media: Be active on social media. Use #BuildForTomorrow in your posts. Voice support for funding and policies outlined in the document. Tag your members of Congress. Follow and share posts from WEF on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Publish an op-ed or blog: Use the policy request document as the basis for an op-ed for the local newspaper or blog for your website. Include local examples of why water is important and why investment is needed.
While Infrastructure Week comes around every spring, 2019 is an especially important time for the water sector to speak up…loudly. We all know how sorely the nation’s water infrastructure needs investment, so the prospect of a major spending package is a chance we must seize.