Water sector applauds House leadership for affordability program boost

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan Act, legislation to deliver additional COVID-19 relief that contains $500 million for low-income water utility bill assistance. This new funding for low-income water assistance comes in addition to the initial $638 million provided in the December 2020 FY21 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

In February, Nathan Gardner-Andrews, general counsel and chief advocacy officer for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), said the water sector applauds the efforts made to deliver the $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.”

NACWA and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) have issued the following joint statement.

“The public water sector is grateful to the U.S. House of Representatives for including $500 million in additional assistance to low-income water customers in the American Rescue Plan Act. This funding recognizes the critical role of public drinking water and clean water services and the increased strain many households are facing in paying their water bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn.

“NACWA and AMWA are currently working to center this critical issue through our joint Affordable Water, Resilient Communities campaign. Increasing water rates continue to present an affordability challenge for many households across the country, particularly in light of increasing economic pressures which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On behalf of public water utilities working around the country to maintain safe, reliable, and affordable water services, we strongly applaud the House for recognizing and addressing this need, and we look forward to the Senate doing the same. In the months ahead we will continue to work with the 117th Congress and Biden administration to further assist customers in need and local utilities that are suffering under the effects of these crises.”

NACWA and AMWA extend a special thanks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Congressional leadership from both parties for their continued support of water sector funding.


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