ECC Pushes For Water Safety
330,000+ Urge Congress to Pass Legislation
Ensuring Affordable, Safe Water for All
ECC was one of 17 advocacy organizations amassing a total of 331,036 signatures, via an online campaign, for a petition supporting a bill that addresses the water quality and affordability problems plaguing many U.S. communities. The organizations announced the results at a September 21 forum on Capitol Hill hosted by Progressive Democrats of America.
The petition effort was in support of the WATER (Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability) Act introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). It would distribute up to $35 billion in dedicated funding to community water and sewer systems through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, creating up to 1 million new jobs.
Federal funding for U.S. water systems has declined 82 percent since its peak in the late 1970s, from $76.27 a year per person in 1977 to just $13.68 per person in 2014, according to Food and Water Watch. The WATER Act would reverse that decades-long decline by creating a dedicated, sustainable source of funding to improve and update water service lines, replace aging lead-ridden pipes, prevent sewage spills and ensure that every household in the U.S. has reliable, healthy, affordable water service. It would create the School Drinking Water Improvement Grant program to provide funding to public primary and secondary schools that wish to test, repair, replace or install the infrastructure necessary for drinking water fountains or bottle filling stations
Nationwide, over 6 million lead service lines deliver water to millions of people via some 11,200 community water systems – some of which serve schools – putting many at risk of lead poisoning. Replacing those lines could cost up to $30 billion.
“It is profoundly encouraging to see so many Americans speaking up to defend our right to clean water for our basic needs,” said Rep. John Conyers. “In the richest nation in world history, adequate investment in our water infrastructure should not be controversial. I look forward to working closely with those both inside and outside of Congress until we have a modern water infrastructure system that guarantees all Americans access to clean and affordable water.”
“Every American deserves clean, affordable drinking water as a basic right,” said ECC Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca. “As part of our foreign aid program, the United States funds water infrastructure projects around the globe. It is a sad commentary when safe, affordable drinking water is not also guaranteed to every American.”
In addition to ECC, the following organizations were involved in the petition drive: Americans for Democratic Action, Corporate Accountability International, Courage Campaign, Daily Kos, Environmental Action, Food & Water Watch, Franciscan Action Network, Friends of the Earth, People Demanding Action, People's Action, People's Water Board Coalition, Presente.org, Progressive Congress, SierraRise, Water You Fighting For and We the People of Detroit.