Keeping Congress Focused on Water Infrastructure

  • by Dave Eggerton
  • Apr 26, 2019
  • Voices on Water

Few things remain unchanged or unsaid in the water industry from a century ago, but there is at least one exception. 

“Water problems are perhaps the most vital internal questions of the United States,” said President Theodore Roosevelt, in his first address to Congress 118 years ago. 

This statement makes as much sense in 2019 as it did 1901. I included the quote in written testimony that I recently delivered to the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife. Today, over 100 years later, the need to build on the legacy of President Roosevelt and invest in water resources remains paramount. And in many ways, we face a bigger challenge in upgrading our water infrastructure than we did in building its foundations. 

According to combined estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Agriculture, and Indian Health Service, the needed investments in water infrastructure nationwide in the coming decades for drinking water, wastewater, and irrigation systems total more than $780 billion dollars. Adding urgency to this need is the sobering fact of what happens without that investment – the loss of nearly 500,000 U.S. jobs by 2025 and $508 billion in gross domestic product, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

That is not a lot of time to find that amount of money. But during my visit to Washington D.C., I was again encouraged by how investment in water enjoys bipartisan support. Time will tell, but I believe the subcommittee was a receptive audience and our message is getting through. And some of the work we’re asking of our elected representatives comes with no price tag. 

In my testimony, I pointed out that our members recognize that warranted regulations provide important protections. However, our current regulatory structure is exceptionally complex with numerous areas of overlap that are at best duplicative and in some cases contradictory. I encouraged subcommittee members to find opportunities to streamline regulations and reduce unnecessary duplication. Proof that we’re being listened to came last month when Congressman John Garamendi (D-3) introduced a bill extending National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits that was co-sponsored by Congressmen Ken Calvert (R-42) and Rob Woodall (R-GA).

I spoke to the subcommittee on behalf of ACWA members and the National Water Resources Association (NWRA), where I serve on the State Executives Council. Our working relationship with the NWRA is among a number of collaborative efforts between ACWA and likeminded organizations. For ACWA members, national advocacy puts us in the room every day when funding and policy decisions are made. While I was only in Washington D.C. for one day, our ACWA East office collectively gives our members a permanent presence in the nation’s capital every day. My testimony, ACWA East staff and their interaction with members of ACWA’s Federal Affairs Committee supplement each other to produce positive results for the ACWA community.

Addressing our nation’s water infrastructure needs is a monumental challenge. But our nation has faced and overcome similar challenges in its past, and we are capable of doing so again.

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Comment Letter: ACWA and CMUA Comment Letter on the Draft Adminsitrator Policy Handbook

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA Recommendations to Newsom Administration for the Water Resilience Portfolio

Agency: California Natural Resources Agency Subject: Water Resilience Portfolio Letter Excerpt: The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) appreciates the […]

Water Professionals Appreciation Week Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Federal Legislative Matrix

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

September 2019 Federal Regulatory Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

COMMENT LETTER: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Drinking Water Standard: Perchlorate

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Subject: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Drinking Water Standard: Perchlorate Letter excerpt:  The regulatory determination […]

PFAS Communications and Education Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Presentations and Resources from Aug. 7, 2019 Agriculture Committee Meetings

A Proposed Methodology for Quantifying the Efficiency of Agricultural Water Use AWMP Guidebook Working Group AB 1668 Draft Drought Plan […]

Integrated Regional Water Management Policy Principles

On July 26, 2019, the ACWA Board of Directors adopted new policy principles on Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) in […]

ACWA Comment Letter on Notification Levels for PFOA, PFOS

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water Subject: Notification Levels and Response Levels for PFOA and PFOS […]

Priority Issues Bulletin

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

July 2019 Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA and CMUA Comment Letter on the Drinking Water Needs Assessment Conceptual Plan

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA Dues Automation Process Webinar

ACWA has a recording available of the webinar on the new Dues Automation Process. The purpose of this recording is to assist […]

ACWA 2019 Spring Conference Presentations

Presentations from ACWA’s 2019 Spring Conference & Exhibition held May 7-10 in Monterey are available below. Please note that this […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
ACWA Comments on Gov. Newsom’s Plan to Veto SB 1

SACRAMENTO – ACWA President Brent Hastey is issuing the following statement in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he […]

OCWD Approves Final Expansion of GRWS

FOUNTAIN VALLEY –– The Orange County Water District (OCWD) Board of Directors has voted to award the contract to construct […]

West Basin Completes Recycled Water Pump Station Improvements

CARSON – The West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) today announced its recycled water Pump Station Improvements Project, which […]

ACWA Advocates at Inaugural SB 100 Workshop on Energy Goals

ACWA staff attended a Sept. 5 inaugural Joint Agency Workshop on SB 100, continuing engagement with state leaders on SB […]

Hazardous Fire Fuels to be Reduced at EID Facilities

PLACERVILLE — The El Dorado Irrigation District (District) Board of Directors recently authorized funding of $1,219,620 for a Vegetation Management […]

SB 1 Places Our Environment and Economy at Risk. Let’s Fix It

Many water systems rely on certainty in the Delta to provide millions of Californians and businesses throughout the state with […]

ACWA Delivers Recommendations for Water Resilience Portfolio

ACWA has submitted its recommendations for the Newsom Administration’s Water Resilience Portfolio, highlighting a comprehensive set of recommendations that take […]

Moulton Niguel Honored for Excellence in Financial Reporting

For the tenth consecutive year, Moulton Niguel Water District has been honored by the Government Finance Officers Association for excellence […]

Frank Ury Appointed to Santa Margarita Water District Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD, The District) appointed Frank Ury to the Board of […]

Yuba Water Agency GM Wins ASCE 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award

MARYSVILLE — Honoring his outstanding efforts and professional achievements in civil engineering, Yuba Water Agency General Manager Curt Aikens this […]

Western adopts capital improvement plan

RIVERSIDE – Western Municipal Water District (Western) has built an innovative blueprint to guide work on 93 capital projects District-wide […]

DWA Launches New Rebates

PALM SPRINGS – Desert Water Agency has new and easier rebates to help customers save water and money. These incentives […]

Oct. 11 Registration Deadline for 2019 Regulatory Summit

ACWA’s ninth annual Regulatory Summit on Oct. 17 in Sacramento will become the place and time to get fully up […]

Helix Water District helps restore water system in Paradise

Helix Water District sent four operations employees to Paradise, the northern California town leveled by the Camp Fire in November […]

Mesa Water District Director Selected As Vice Chair Of O.C. Housing Commission

COSTA MESA — Mesa Water District (Mesa Water®) Director James R. (“Jim”) Fisler was selected to be Vice Chair of […]