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Why California Needs Federal Investment in Public Water to Provide Safe Water for Generations to Come

Why California Needs Federal Investment in Public Water to Provide Safe Water for Generations to Come

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When Congress passed the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that our waterways were protected and our drinking water safe, they provided increased funding for community water systems to meet these more protective standards. However, since the 1980s, the federal government has been cutting back funding to communities for water infrastructure, with assistance falling to historic lows under the Bush administration. At the same time, many of our nation’s water systems that were built in the early 20th century are reaching the end of their lifespan. Without dedicated federal funding, communities simply cannot afford to make the necessary repairs to pipes and water systems that keep our waters clean and safe. This lack of investment in communities’ water infrastructure poses a danger to the environment and threatens the safety of our water for future generations.
When Congress passed the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that our waterways were protected and our drinking water safe, they provided increased funding for community water systems to meet these more protective standards. However, since the 1980s, the federal government has been cutting back funding to communities for water infrastructure, with assistance falling to historic lows under the Bush administration. At the same time, many of our nation’s water systems that were built in the early 20th century are reaching the end of their lifespan. Without dedicated federal funding, communities simply cannot afford to make the necessary repairs to pipes and water systems that keep our waters clean and safe. This lack of investment in communities’ water infrastructure poses a danger to the environment and threatens the safety of our water for future generations.

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Published by: Food and Water Watch on Feb 03, 2011
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02/03/2011

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Renew America’s Water
Why California Needs Federal Investment in Public Water toProvide Safe Water for Generations to Come
WATER 
The campaign to Renew America’s Water will create adedicated source of federal funding, which will improvewater quality, protect the environment, create good jobsand ensure safe, reliable water for generations to come.
Reliable Access to Safe Water IsThreatened
California’s drinking water and sewer infrastructure needsdramatically outpace available funding. According toCalifornia’s latest project priority list for the Drinking WaterState Revolving Fund (SRF) program, the state’s publicwater systems need $11.1 billion to keep our water safe.
1
 In 2010, the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fundprogram, which provides low-interest loans and grantsto maintain safe drinking water, received $127 million in
federal funding — enough to nance only 1.1 percent of 
what is needed.
2
California’s publicly owned wastewater systems need$16.5 billion to protect water quality and public health.
3
 In 2010, the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fundprogram, which goes toward wastewater infrastructure,received $147 million in federal funding — enough to
nance less than 1 percent of what is needed.
4
 As a result, even after state contributions, state revolvingfunds fall $27 billion short of what is needed to maintainCalifornia’s water and sewer systems, leaving local govern-
ments with much of the nancial burden. Additional fund
-ing is necessary to maintain and improve the state’s waterquality. We need to act now to Renew America’s Water andclose this funding gap.
Protecting Our Beaches, Rivers andLakes
Aging water infrastructure does more than threaten ourfuture access to reliable drinking water — it also harms theenvironment in our communities. Aging sewer pipes canburst and spill untreated waste into our rivers, lakes andstreams. This is a problem in communities across the state.According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’sCalifornia 2006 Water Quality Assessment Report, 93 per-cent of the state’s river miles, 93 percent of its lake waters,and 98 percent of the bays and estuaries assessed were im-paired and too polluted to support their designated uses.
5
Sewage overows and stormwater runoff can also causewaters to be unt for recreational use. California had 714
closures and advisories at beaches in 2009.
6
In addition,
C
alifornia’s public water systems have provided reliable access to drinking waterand safe disposal of wastewater for decades, yet a crisis looms. When Congresspassed the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that ourwaterways were protected and our drinking water safe, they provided increasedfunding for community water systems to meet these more protective standards.However, since the 1980s, the federal government has been cutting back funding tocommunities for water infrastructure, with assistance falling to historic lows underthe Bush administration. At the same time, many of our nation’s water systems thatwere built in the early 20th century are reaching the end of their lifespan. Withoutdedicated federal funding, communities simply cannot afford to make the necessaryrepairs to pipes and water systems that keep our waters clean and safe. This lack of investment in communities’ water infrastructure poses a danger to the environmentand threatens the safety of our water for future generations.

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