WEF Representative Testifies to the U.S. Senate about Water Infrastructure

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) was invited to testify at the U.S. Senate hearing, The Federal Role in Keeping Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Affordable, held to examine the federal role in water and wastewater infrastructure. On April 7, Rudolph Chow, the director of the Balitmore City Department of Public Works, represented WEF, the City of Baltimore, and WateReuse Association (Alexandria, Va.). Chow provided his testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Chow has more than 30 years of experience in the water sector and is a proponent of renewing existing infrastructure. He has developed and implemented many programs aimed at protecting these systems while mitigating affordability issues. His testimony focused on three issues affecting water and wastewater infrastructure:

  • affordability,
  • federal funding of infrastructure, and
  • economic benefits of Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) spending.

One purpose for the hearing was for the committee to receive results of an economic analysis that WEF and the WateReuse Association conducted at the committee’s request. Chow described how the results show that SRF spending in four sample states — California, Maryland, Ohio, and Oklahoma — created jobs, increased federal tax revenue, and delivered other benefits to the state and national economies.

Chow described the challenges communities face in meeting regulatory requirements with limited funds and the need for the U.S. Congress to support existing and proposed federal funding and financing programs.

Chow also described how the total annual SRF spending in the four states studied — about $1.46 billion — generated $234 million of federal tax revenue. The analysis also showed that every $1 million of SRF spending results in $2.25 million in output for the states’ economies on average as well as creates 14 jobs with an income of about $60,000.

WEF and WateReuse are finalizing the analysis that will be entered into the committee’s official record.

“As the true value of water becomes increasingly apparent, it’s vitally important to help educate our nation’s leaders about the infrastructure challenges facing our communities and the ways the federal government can help mitigate these pressures and increase opportunities for economic growth,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “Although we are still working on our final analysis, the initial findings confirm that federal investments in water and wastewater infrastructure through the SRF programs have meaningful benefits to the economy, U.S. Treasury, and households across the nation.”

For more information on the hearing or the economic analysis, contact Steve Dye, WEF legislative director, at sdye@wef.org.

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