Largest U.S. water associations urge President-elect Barack Obama to adopt a 'National Agenda for Drinking Water'
WaterWebster.org Staff Report
November 21, 2008
Republish this story at no cost; to learn how, click here
The nation's largest water associations are urging President-elect Barack Obama to set a 'National Agenda for Drinking Water' that would include immediate and longterm infrastructure improvements and promote research into climate change and emerging contamination sources, such as personal care products and pharmaceuticals.
In their proposal, the associations also oppose any federal tax on water.
The 16-page booklet was prepared by the American Water Works Association, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies and the National Rural Water Association. Together, the four groups represent most of the nation's public and private drinking water and wastewater companies and utilities.
"Because drinking water system improvement projects are uniquely suited to
The booklet termed the $1 billion included in the House stimulus bill a "good start" but said "much more money is needed to adequately fund the wide range of ready-to-go projects across the country impacted by the credit crisis."
The groups also urged the incoming administration to provide equal funding for drinking water and wastewater projects and to offer longterm financing for water programs.
"The basic responsibility for building and maintaining water infrastructure is and always has been local, and more than 98 percent of the nation’s investment in water infrastructure has been at the local level," the groups said. However, they added, many communities are trying to replace water mains and pipes that are more than 100 years old and at or near the end of their useful economic
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Congressional Budget Office and others
And they asked Obama to support "science-based processes for selecting contaminants for regulation and for setting standards." What they don't want, the groups said, was Congress picking and choosing which contaminants to regulate and how.
"A particular issue we face concerns emerging contaminants, that is, those that are just being discovered and analyzed in drinking water," said the report. "These include personal care and pharmaceutical products and their breakdown products and metabolites, which are found in many source waters and in some treated drinking water at extremely low concentrations."
"At this time," the report added, "there is no evidence of human health effects associated with the extremely low concentrations that may be found in treated drinking water. However, more research is needed on both sources and
Climate change, the report said, particularly "changing precipitation patterns across the country may result in more severe drought or floods, a change in snow pack amount and elevation, varying stream flow patterns, and rising sea
The report recommended the Obama administration dedicate funds to assess the impacts of climate change on drinking water resources and assist drinking water utilities in adapting to climate change.
In terms of security, the report said the associations were "concerned about proposals that would empower the federal government to force local water systems to adopt so-called 'inherently safer technologies' (IST) that are perceived by some as superior alternatives to utilities’ chosen disinfection methods.
"We believe that broad IST mandates from the federal government would fail to recognize the complex process that each utility conducts to choose the best water treatment method, based on numerous locally unique factors."
The booklet included several recommendations for water system security, including:
The associations also urged the Obama administration to retain strict controls on vulnerability assessments and other security information that water agencies are required to report to federal authorities.
Dan Hartnett, manager for legislative affairs for the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, said a proposal introduced in Congress last year "in our estimation, weakened those protections."
|© 2011 WaterWebster.org All rights reserved. Acceptable Use Policy | Privacy Statement Policy|