Biden signs COVID stimulus including water affordability program funding

President Joe Biden on Friday signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act, legislation to deliver additional COVID-19 relief that contains $500 million in assistance for low-income clean water customers and support for critical water and sewer investments.

This water assistance funding comes in addition to the initial $638 million provided in the December 2020 FY21 Consolidated Appropriations Act for a total of $1.138 billion.

Additionally, the relief package makes clean water infrastructure needs explicitly eligible to access $350 billion through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which are intended to address COVID-19 expenses, lost state and local revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and necessary investments in water, sewer and broadband.

Related — Water sector applauds House leadership for affordability program boost

Adam Krantz, CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), issued the following statement:

“The legislation signed into law today by President Biden makes it clear that water is a serious priority for this Congress and the Administration. In just three months, the federal Low-Income Water Customer Assistance Program (LIWCAP) now has over $1 billion in funding and public clean water utilities now are eligible to access historic levels of federal funding.

 

“Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic has made clear the essential role of the clean water workforce and the services they provide to protect public health and the environment. Through their actions, Congress and the Biden Administration have provided a lifeline to thousands, if not millions, of Americans struggling to pay their water bills but there is more to be done.

“NACWA looks forward to working with Congress to further address the growing needs of the public clean water sector in President Biden and Congress’s upcoming infrastructure package.”

In February, NACWA said the water sector applauds the efforts made to deliver the additional $500 million in funds to low-income customers, but added that the money comes “nowhere near to meeting the financial needs facing millions of Americans right now who are struggling to pay water and sewer bills,” as the water utility sector continues to push for more federal funding for water infrastructure.

NACWA has been working closely with its drinking water counterpart organization, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), to center the critical issues of water investment and affordability through its joint Affordable Water, Resilient Communities campaign.

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