Future of water infrastructure funding to be discussed in major DC meeting

The White House Council on Environmental Quality, the EPA, and the MWRD Exec. Director will discuss water infrastructure funding in DC on July 1.

June 28, 2013 -- A nationwide gathering to discuss the future of water infrastructure funding will be held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on July 1. The meeting will be hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality in collaboration with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago's (MWRD) Executive Director David St. Pierre.

Over the past century, 700,000 miles of water infrastructure has been constructed across the country. At four times the length of the national highway system, pipes that provide drinking water to households and take waste to treatment facilities are aging and in need of significant repair and investment.

The EPA estimates that the cost to upgrade the nation's drinking and wastewater infrastructure is at least $635 billion over the next 20 years. However, many communities rely on municipal bonds that are repaid with water utility fees but are finding that option ­no longer viable. While the EPA's State Revolving Loan funds have helped facilitate $120 billion in financing over the past 25 years, this resource is insufficient to meet expected demand for water infrastructure upgrades. Innovative solutions are required, and this meeting provided the forum to discuss such solutions.

"Utilities should be the model for efficient government," said Mr. St. Pierre. "Through proper management of resources, utilities can meet the challenge of infrastructure maintenance. I look forward to participating in this vital discussion."

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