13 Mar BPC Action Letter on Water Quality Protection and Jobs Creation Act of 2019 in Infrastructure
Representatives DeFazio, Napolitano, Young, and Katko:
Thank you for introducing Water Quality Protection and Jobs Creation Act of 2019. BPC’s infrastructure project has issued several recommendations on water affordability, including Safeguarding Water Affordability. Maintaining federal support for key programs like the State Revolving Loan Funds (SRFs) is important to addressing the nation’s water infrastructure needs.
According to EPA, a combined annual water and wastewater bill is affordable if it is less than 4.5 percent of the median household income (2.5 percent for water and 2 percent for wastewater services and CSO controls.) The Congressional Budget Office has projected that between 11 and 21 percent of households will spend more than 4 percent of household income on drinking water alone by 2019. In its annual survey, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) found that in 2017, the average residential charge for wastewater services rose 3.6 percent, increasing faster than the 2.1 percent annual inflation rate. With infrastructure costs continuing to rise as systems age, the average ratepayer charges will continue to increase, likely rising well above EPA’s affordability standard.
By authorizing $4 billion for the Clean Water SRF, your legislation would maintain and expand the federal commitment to helping communities address these critical needs. As you know, the SRF is the primary federal source of financing for municipal clean water infrastructure and a vital part of efforts to address the growing funding gap and more importantly, efforts to keep rates affordable. BPC Action commends you for your commitment to this important program and look forward to working with you for swift passage of your legislation.