Water leaders convene on Capitol Hill, rally support to invest in U.S. water infrastructure

Water sector leaders from across the nation have convened on Capitol Hill and have invited Washington to join them in investing the hundreds of billions of dollars required to strengthen U.S. water infrastructure, helping bolster America's workforce and sharpen its competitive edge.

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 10, 2014 -- Today, a number of major water sector leaders from across the nation have convened on Capitol Hill and have invited Washington to join them in investing the hundreds of billions of dollars required to strengthen U.S. water infrastructure -- helping bolster America's workforce and sharpen its competitive edge.

"From agriculture to manufacturing to transportation, America's economy runs on water," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. "Whether it's brewing a San Diego craft beer or providing electricity for millions in New York, our cities depend on reliable water infrastructure -- and we need to invest now so that when it comes to our future, the glass is half full."

Yet just last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers reported that U.S. water and wastewater systems are close to failing, giving the systems a "D" grade. As such, Houston Mayor Annise Parker noted, "It's estimated that we need to spend $4.8 trillion over the next 20 years in order to fix and maintain the country's current water systems and preserve existing service levels. We need to join hands today and invest for tomorrow."

The water industry is rising to the challenge. According to new research from the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), 30 of the large utilities from around the country will invest $233 billion over the next decade and generate more than half a trillion dollars in U.S. economic output.

Earlier this year, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee galvanized mayors and cities through a resolution that was adopted at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in Dallas. The resolution called for a renewed partnership across sectors to accelerate investment in water infrastructure in order to drive job creation and economic growth and prepare communities to be resilient in the face of climate change.

"Neither industry nor government can do this alone," said Susan Story, American Water president and CEO. "Each has a critical role in enabling the next great American idea. In addition to the $230 billion spent by these 30 public utilities, American Water will invest more than $5 billion in the next five years in water infrastructure. Each sector plays a critical role."

According to the study, the utilities are responsible for 36,500 high-quality, direct jobs that help workers enter the middle class and further grow American competitiveness. More than 289,000 permanent jobs will be supported annually over the next decade.

"Jobs in the water and wastewater industries can't be outsourced; this is local work done by people living and working right in our communities," said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, co-chair of the Water Council of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "These jobs offer competitive salaries as well as opportunities for training and advancement. Simply put: when water works, America works."

The range of organizations participating in Washington today demonstrates the wide-spread recognition of the water sector's economic importance. The events are being co-hosted by: American Society of Civil Engineers, Building America's Future, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Urban League, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Value of Water Coalition.

See also:

"Webcast - Water Works: Investing Together for a Stronger America"

"'Water for Jobs': How investing in Water Can Put People Back to Work"

The 30 surveyed utilities serve 83 million people across the nation -- more than 25 percent of the total U.S. population. They are:

  1. Alexandria Renew Enterprises
  2. Boston Water & Sewer Commission
  3. Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority
  4. City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management
  5. City of Baltimore Water & Wastewater Utility
  6. City of Chicago Department of Water Management
  7. City of Houston—Combined Utility System
  8. City of Tulsa Water and Sewer Department
  9. District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority
  10. Denver Water
  11. Hampton Roads Sanitation District
  12. Kansas City Missouri Water Services Department
  13. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
  14. Los Angeles Sanitation
  15. Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District
  16. Louisville Water Company
  17. Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati
  18. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  19. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  20. Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department
  21. Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
  22. Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
  23. New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  24. Orange County Water District
  25. Philadelphia Water Department
  26. Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority
  27. Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District
  28. San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  29. Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans
  30. Southern Nevada Water Authority


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