APWA Issues Letter to Congress Urging Support of Water Sector
On May 14, APWA, along with 13 other water sector stakeholders, issued a letter to Congressional leadership urging support for the water sector during the next round of recovery legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
While Congress has passed four separate stimulus packages designed to help the country during this emergency, the water sector received little support. The water sector is especially economically vulnerable in a pandemic situation. The clean water sector estimates a $16.8 billion impact to clean water utilities, which includes $12.5 billion in lost revenue from decreased non-residential demand as industries and institutions shuttered. Similarly, the drinking water sector estimates $13.9 billion in annualized revenue losses to the drinking water utilities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Both residential and commercial water usage are expected to decline significantly, and water providers will incur additional costs due to emergency operations during the crisis.
In recognition of this unprecedented situation, the letter urged Congressional leadership to include the following in future coronavirus response legislation:
Language authorizing drinking water and wastewater ratepayer assistance grants, or low interest loan funding to help support utility operations at a time when revenues are dropping dramatically;
Language authorizing drinking water and wastewater ratepayer assistance to help cover costs associated with maintaining those services to households that are unable to pay; and
Federal assistance similar to that provided to airports, public transit and other local public service entities to help mitigate lost revenues to drinking water and wastewater systems.