More Funding Sought For Water Infrastructure Improvements

Lynn Grayson   By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block

Seven national water and wastewater associations asked House and Senate members to oppose cuts to the FY 13 appropriations for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) requested by the Obama Administration. The White House budget proposed $359M in reductions next year but even more efforts to further reduce this funding are anticipated. The seven water agencies include: National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, American Water Works Association, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, Association of Clean Water Administrators, Water Environment Federation and American Public Works Association.

Financial assistance is needed now by wastewater treatment and drinking water providers to update water-related infrastructure. The necessary capital improvements are required to address climate change consequences including both an onslaught of water or an acute shortage.

Water Treatment Plant

Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, testified at a Congressional hearing on March 20th that "... the consequences of climate change are happening now in Las Vegas." He addressed the investments required to construct extra intakes to deal with lower water levels in Lake Mead.

A 2009 study by CH2MHill commissioned by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies concluded that the collective costs for utilities to manage climate change impacts could be as high as $448B to $944B by 2050. According to CH2MHill, EPA estimates that $500B is needed to upgrade and maintain existing infrastructure.

The letter to Congress seeking funding support for water infrastructure is attached. Additional insight about these issues can be reviewed at the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.

E. Lynn Grayson is a partner in Jenner & Block's Chicago office and a member of the Firm's Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law, Climate and Clean Technology Law, Defense & Aerospace and Environmental Litigation Practices. Ms. Grayson is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell's highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability. Ms. Grayson has been recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America, an Illinois Super Lawyer and Lawdragon magazine named Ms. Grayson to its "New Stars, New Worlds" list of 500 attorneys who are "carving the path to the new heights of the legal profession." Chambers USA and Leading Lawyers Network have recognized Ms. Grayson as one of the country's leading environmental lawyers as recommended by a peer review process.

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