EPA Announces $15 Million for Nation's Watersheds

To support community-driven initiatives that protect habitat, improve water quality, and enhance outdoor recreation, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman has announced nearly $15 million in grants

To support community-driven initiatives that protect habitat, improve water quality, and enhance outdoor recreation, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman has announced nearly $15 million in grants to 20 watershed organizations selected as part of a new Watershed Initiative.

"This national competition for these Watershed Initiative grants generated an outpouring of outstanding proposals, each with the enthusiastic support of their respective governors and Tribal leaders," said Administrator Whitman. "EPA is very excited to commit significant federal dollars to support these top watershed efforts, all of which will serve as national models for other communities to follow."

During last year's State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush asked the nation's governors and tribal leaders to nominate proposals to support community-based approaches to clean up the nation's watersheds. This year, Congress appropriated $15 million of the President's original $20 million dollar funding request.

The winning watersheds cover more than 90,000 square miles of the nation's lakes, rivers and streams. Funds will go toward restoration and protection projects, such as stream stabilization and habitat enhancement, implementing agricultural best management practices, and working with local governments and homeowners to promote sustainable practices and strategies. The grants range from $300,000 to $1 million. For more information, visit http://www.epa. gov/owow/watershed/initiative.

EPA Releases Report On Community Water Systems

EPA recently released a report on its 2000 Community Water System (CWS) Survey. EPA conducted the survey to provide data to support regulatory development and implementation.

Most of the operating characteristics of community water systems are unchanged from 1976, when the first CWS Survey was conducted. The vast majority of systems are small and privately owned, but most people still receive their water from large publicly owned systems.

Nevertheless, there have been important changes since the first survey was conducted. They include an increase in the percentage of systems that treat their water and an overall improvement in water system financial performance.

While the total number of community water systems increased between 1995 and 2000, the number of small systems declined. The number of systems serving populations of 100 or fewer declined by 8 percent. The number of systems serving more than 3,300 people, on the other hand, increased by 20 percent.

The percentage of systems operating at a loss declined for most size categories between 1995 and 2000. Overall, average revenue and expenses increased by slightly more than inflation over the past five years, although many systems witnessed real declines in both revenue and expenses per gallon. The percentage of systems operating at a loss or with a deficit across all size categories is 30 percent, down from approximately 40 percent in 1995.

Other findings of the study include:

• The percentage of systems that provide treatment rose between 1976 and 2000. This trend is consistent with SDWA's emphasis on water quality monitoring and treatment.

• Very few small systems use increasing block rate structures. Only 7 percent of systems serving 500 or fewer persons use an increasing block rate to charge for water.

• Systems continue to invest considerable funds in their distribution networks. Over the past five years, systems replaced over 50,000 miles of the more than 1.8 million miles of pipe in their networks, at a cost of more than $4 billion.

Copies of the full report may be found on the Internet at www.epa. gov/safewater/cwssvr.html.

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