WEF urges new water legislation

In a testimony presented to the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, during the first of a two-part hearing titled Review of Innovative Financing Approaches for Community Water Infrastructure Projects, Eger highlighted the financial challenges facing water facilities around the country and the importance of providing support for these essential services.

Eger and other water industry leaders also informed the Subcommittee about the need for water infrastructure funding and potential financing tools to help local communities pay for the rising costs of providing clean and safe water.

“Local governments [in the US] are facing the worst financial circumstances in more than a generation,” said Eger. “If we are going to continue to provide essential services and make progress in water quality, we need to re-imagine the way we provide local water services. We need to encourage innovation.”

WEF and the American Water Works Association voiced support for draft legislation to create the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA), a funding mechanism modelled after the highly successful US Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. WIFIA would help local governments with water infrastructure needs and leverage available federal dollars through low-interest funding.

“Introduction and eventual passage of new water infrastructure financing legislation is an important step in recognising the value of water and the need to support our essential water infrastructure,” said continued Eger.

Eger also stressed the need to raise public awareness about the value and importance of water through its WATER'S WORTH IT campaign.