NAWC calls on Congress to encourage responsible water use, sustainable infrastructure investment

WASHINGTON, DC, July 15, 2009 -- The National Association of Water Companies' (NAWC) submitted testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure regarding the NAWC's concerns with H.R. 3202, The Water Protection and Reinvestment Act of 2009...

• Expresses serious concerns regarding proposed Water Protection and Reinvestment Act of 2009

WASHINGTON, DC, July 15, 2009 -- The National Association of Water Companies' (NAWC) submitted testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure regarding the NAWC's concerns with H.R. 3202, The Water Protection and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"The trust fund mechanism created by this bill would serve to further mask the value of water through taxes on unrelated activities and discourage responsible water use and conservation through heavy, broad utility subsidizations," said NAWC in the testimony. "Aggregate water use can only be reduced by changing the way people think about flushing their toilets, watering their lawns and washing their dishes and how industries think about water as an input cost. Similarly, public support for spending on environmental infrastructure can only be increased by changing the way people and businesses think about those very same activities. Neither goal can be achieved by creating opaque ways to fund water initiatives that allow users to continue thinking of water as a disposable resource."

The NAWC actively supports federal policies that provide utilities with the incentives to set prices that both sustain infrastructure investments and encourage conservation by household and industrial water users. State Revolving Loan Fund programs and H.R. 537, Congressman Bill Pascrell's (D-NJ) bill that would increase the amount of tax-exempt funding available to water and wastewater utilities, both adhere to the principals of helping utilities make affordable investments in their infrastructure while still sending accurate price signals to the public about the value of water.

"The water infrastructure replacement challenge our country faces is a serious one, and requires a serious and sustainable response. We are concerned, however, that by masking the true cost and value of water service the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act would directly undermine these goals, and could in the long run increase the infrastructure challenge. Congress should stay focused on encouraging long-term efficient and sustainable utility management," said Michael Deane, executive director of NAWC.

The NAWC commends Chairman James Oberstar, Ranking Member John Mica, Chairman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ranking Member John Boozman and Representative Earl Blumenauer for tackling this complex issue and looks forward to working with the Committee to achieve long-term solutions that will allow water and wastewater providers to meet their present and future infrastructure investment needs.

The National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) represents all aspects of the private water service industry. The range of our members' business includes ownership of regulated drinking water and wastewater utilities, and the many forms of public-private partnerships and management contract arrangements. Seventy-three million Americans -- nearly one in four -- receive service from a private water service provider.

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