Time to Support the Cost of Clean Water
Posted November 22, 2010
By Eileen O'Neill, Chief Technical Officer, Water Environment Federation
It was great to be at a recent informal lunch at WEF headquarters, where former EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Water and respected WEF member Tracy Mehan shared his top water priorities with Federation staff. The wide-ranging discussion ran from the energy-water nexus, ‘save water, save energy, reduce carbon’, to nutrient pollution challenges, to a comprehensive watershed approach when addressing stormwater issues, ‘needs to work socially as well as hydrologically.’(See WEF’s Access Water Knowledge for more information on those topics.) He also emphasized the importance of financial sustainability as a key aspect of environmental sustainability and the especially timely aspect of water infrastructure funding. (See WEF’s position statement on Financial Sustainability for Water Infrastructure.)
Tracy, who played a key role in development of the educational program Water Is Life and Infrastructure Makes It Happen ™, pointed out that cost-based pricing at the local level is needed in what will likely be a fiscally austere era at the Federal and State levels. Water Is Life is designed to help water and wastewater service providers build public support to repair the nation’s aging water infrastructure and, by the way, Americans will pay to fix it, according to a recent study from ITT about the value of water.
Water Is Life is managed by WEF and has already educated thousands of residents in hundreds of municipalities about the critical need to support and fund water infrastructure in order to maintain water quality standards and protect public health and the environment. There’s never been a better time to support the cost of clean water, and there are lots of free tools and information to help you do just that at www.WaterIsLife.net.