Water Organizations Support WIFIA & SRF at Fly-In
Members of water organizations from across the country converged on Washington D.C. on April 18 and 19 to advocate for the importance of water and wastewater infrastructure during two "Fly-In" events.
A record 160 water utility leaders from 48 states supported water infrastructure investment and source water protection during the American Water Works Association's (AWWA) Water Matters! Fly-In. Nate Weisenburger, AE2S Drinking Water Practice Leader, attended the AWWA event. He accompanied John Alston of the Bozeman Water and Sewer Department and Wayne Lovelis of the Great Falls Water Treatment Plant during visits with congressional leaders.
“The Fly-In provides local utilities with a great opportunity each year to get face time with their respective Congressional Delegation to discuss important topics related to the water industry and specific infrastructure needs in their home States,” says Weisenburger. AWWA delegates participated in more than 440 meetings with congressional members from across the country during their time in D.C.
Simultaneously, the National Water Policy Fly-In was held by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Water Research Foundation, and WateReuse. Scott Schaefer, AE2S Wastewater Practice Leader, attended the WEF event and visited congressional leaders with Pat Shea, St. Cloud Director of Public Services.
Both the AWWA and the National Water Policy Fly-In participants are urging legislative support for robust funding for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) and State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, which provide loans for water and wastewater utilities seeking to address aging infrastructure and regulatory challenges. The water organizations support the passage of H.R. 4492 / S.2329 to reauthorize and boost funding for WIFIA. They also support doubling appropriations for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program to $1.7 billion.
In addition, Fly-In participants supported $6 billion in funding appropriations for Conservation Title programs included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Specifically, AWWA is requesting a target of 10 percent of Conservation Title funds be used to support projects that involve collaboration between utilities and agricultural producers with the intent of protecting source water.