Urging the U.S. Government To Fund Rebuilding Water Infrastructure After Hurricanes

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) urges the White House and U.S. Congress to prioritize resilience in rebuilding water infrastructure in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands that was damaged by recent hurricanes. WEF also requests robust funding for hurricane relief and removal of any restrictions that prevent certified drinking water and wastewater operators from providing assistance in disaster areas.

On Oct. 18, WEF sent a letter asking the White House and U.S. Congress to

  • provide robust grant or low-interest loan funding for damaged drinking water and wastewater systems,
  • direct or urge utilities receiving federal funding to incorporate greater resilience in the design and location of systems, and
  • support mutual aid efforts within the water sector to make disaster response more effective by placing the water sector under its Emergency Support Function.

“It may have been impossible to prevent water systems from failing due to the severity of the storms, but it is possible to rebuild them in ways that will reduce future risks and safeguard public health and environmental impacts,” said Eileen O’Neill, executive director of WEF. “Greater resilience ensures that taxpayer dollars are used wisely, and systems perform to standards that protect public health, the environment, and promote economic growth.”

The WEF Board of Trustees authorized a donation of $10,000 for hurricane relief efforts and encourages members to consider making donations. To assist members affected by the storms and earthquake in Mexico, WEF extended membership status through the end of the year and relaxed refund rules for WEFTEC registrants and exhibiting companies in affected areas that were unable to attend.

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