Celebrating the CWA's 40th Anniversary
By Jeff Eger
Posted October 19, 2012
I was proud to represent the Water Environment Federation at an event we sponsored with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the Association of Clean Water Administrators to celebrate the Clean Water Act’s 40th anniversary on Monday, October 15, at the National Press Club in Washington. WEF members were at the forefront of CWA implementation, when innovative thinking was essential to providing the clean and safe water we enjoy today, and they’ll be instrumental in building on CWA success over the next 40 years.
If we are going to continue to provide essential services and make progress in water quality, we need to encourage innovation once again. For example, WEF is focusing on transformation of the water sector’s energy performance and we have developed a ‘road map to net-zero energy’ for use by utilities planning to transition from energy consumers to energy producers.
We also need innovative financing, because investment in water infrastructure creates jobs and safeguards public health. Despite the significant improvements made under the Clean Water Act and the fact that the U.S. has some of the most advanced treatment systems, much of its water and wastewater infrastructure was built more than a century ago. WEF is leading an effort this election season to send a clear message to U.S. elected officials and political candidates that investment in water infrastructure is an investment in America’s future. Along with our Member Associations, our friends at NACWA, and other national partners, WEF is making the business case for water infrastructure investment by emphasizing the irrefutable link between water infrastructure investment and job creation. It’s called the Water for Jobs campaign, and you can find out more at waterforjobs.org.
In addition to funding, we need to look at the Clean Water Act to see if there are ways to provide flexibility for the implementation of watershed-level solutions, while still making progress on our national goals. WEF is committed to working with our partners, EPA, and other stakeholders to develop and promote recommendations for "modernizing" the Clean Water Act. We need both the funding and the flexibility to protect future public health, create jobs, and support a sound national economy.