Bipartisan Water Supply Cost Savings Act introduced in Senate
Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have introduced the bipartisan Water Supply Cost Savings Act to provide small communities with critical information on using water wells and systems to deliver high-quality, affordable drinking water.
WASHINGTON, DC, June 24, 2015 -- On Monday, June 22, Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the bipartisan Water Supply Cost Savings Act, or Savings Act (S. 1642), to provide small communities across the nation with critical information on the use of water wells and water well systems to deliver high-quality, affordable drinking water. The legislation was greeted with enthusiastic support from the Water Systems Council, Water Quality Association and National Groundwater Association.
"Wells are a reliable, cost-effective way for budget-challenged communities to provide safe drinking water for their residents," said Margaret Martens, Water Systems Council executive director. "The Water Supply Cost Savings Act is a win for rural America and the American taxpayer. The Savings Act is aimed at reducing the costs to federal, state and local governments in providing quality drinking water to millions of Americans living in rural and isolated communities by promoting cost-effective community well water systems."
To assist small communities with their consideration of drinking water technology needs, the Savings Act establishes a Drinking Water Technology Clearinghouse where the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Secretary of Agriculture will disseminate information on cost-effective, innovative and alternative drinking water delivery systems, including systems that are supported by wells.
"Many Arkansans rely on water wells to provide safe, affordable, and reliable drinking water," said Boozman. "For small, isolated communities, these wells can save money and make life better. This bill will encourage agencies to support this low-cost solution by providing technical support. The bill also encourages small communities to consider water wells as one of the supply options when new water systems are built."
Tester added, "Access to clean drinking water is critical for the health of every rural community and in many cases well systems are the most cost-effective way to deliver it to the tap," Tester said. "This bill will help raise awareness about all the water infrastructure options that are available to local communities so they can provide safe and reliable water to families, small businesses, and family farms and ranches in rural America."
Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, also said, "Wherever you live, all Americans deserve access to safe and clean drinking water. Having modern and reliable water infrastructure protects public health, conserves natural resources, saves energy and creates jobs. This legislation helps remove some of the technical and financial barriers to clean water that rural communities face while improving quality of life."
The most recent EPA Water Drinking Needs Survey reflects a shortfall of $64 billion in drinking water infrastructure funding. The Water Supply Cost Savings Act would update existing EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to provide cost-saving information about innovative and alternate drinking water delivery systems including those supported by wells. The legislation also requires that alternative drinking water supplies such as individual, shared and community wells be considered in applications for federal funding for drinking water systems serving 500 or fewer people.