Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
March 22, 2021
Happy World Water Day!
Designated by the United Nations since 1993, World Water Day celebrates water and builds awareness of the billions living without safe water worldwide, including more than 2 million here in the U.S.
As the 2021 theme is “valuing water,” I am reminded of a Benjamin Franklin quote, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” Value is more than just dollars.
Building modern, resilient infrastructure, including water, wastewater, and stormwater, is a top priority for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. America’s businesses depend on access to these lifeline services for their economic prosperity, as well as for the health and quality of life of their employees, customers, and families in the communities where they operate.
Unfortunately, there are communities around our nation that understand firsthand what it means not to have access to tap water. Local water and wastewater utilities have gone offline due to flooding, loss of power, and freezing pipes. Boil water orders are often required.
It is unacceptable that the 2021 American Society of Civil Engineers report cardstill rates our water infrastructure at C-.
With this in mind, the Chamber worked with member companies, state and local chambers, and partner trade associations to develop our 2021 water policy priorities, which we are sharing with members of Congress.
The following suggestions to advance a practical and policy discussion to identify solutions are included in our priorities:
- Promote and formalize more efficient interagency coordination across many U.S. government agencies that oversee water to foster good public policy and align funding.
- Elevate resilience as a national priority, focusing on predisaster mitigation and engaging the business community in developing a National Resilience Strategy.
- Provide private sector access to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and remove the cap on private activity bonds to mobilize more private investment and promote public-private partnerships.
- Catalyze the deployment and adoption of smart technologies, artificial intelligence, and water reuse solutions to help maximize water supply, reduce water management costs, and ensure that water remains affordable, especially in our most disadvantaged communities.
- Offer businesses more flexibility to meet our national water quality and quantity goals, including alternative compliance for off-site stormwater management and treatment of emerging contaminants, such as PFAS.
The Chamber has included water infrastructure as part of our Build by the Fourth of July campaign of more than 300 business, environmental, and labor organizations to urge enactment of broad infrastructure legislation by July 4, 2021. As a recent study underscores, water fuels industry. Water is critical to economic development and contributes to all economic sectors. Every job is a water job.
While these challenges are complex, they are solvable. People across our nation and around the world are counting on the best thinking from the public and private sectors working together to ensure sustainable water management for the future of our communities, the economy, and the environment.
America’s business community knows the value of water and is ready to help forge the bipartisan consensus needed to get this done.
Please contact Chuck Chaitovitz at email@example.com, or visit https://www.uschamber.com/environmental-affairs-and-sustainability for more information.