Tell the Senate Business Supports Investment in Water Infrastructure
Campaign Partner: Environment America
As business owners who depend on clean water, we urge you to increase water infrastructure funding this year by $11 billion, so that we can prevent pollution and make all of America’s waterways safe and clean.
We rely on clean water for our livelihoods and enjoyment. Our companies serve customers who enjoy swimming, fishing, paddling, good beer, and the many other products and services that depend on access to clean water. Healthy waterways and beaches draw many of our customers to our cities and businesses, and are vital for the safety, well-being and success of our communities, businesses, economy and nation.
All too often, water pollution closes our beaches or puts swimmers’ health at risk. In fact, scientists estimate that swimming in polluted waterways causes 57 million instances of people getting sick each year in the U.S. And when people do not feel safe swimming in the water, our businesses and communities suffer. An Outdoor Industry Association report shows that consumers spend over $175 billion on water activities every year, and this does not include spending at nearby hotels, restaurants and so forth.
Keeping our rivers, lakes, and streams clean is also the best way to ensure clean water from the tap, which is critical for many businesses to produce top notch products – from coffee to semiconductors to beer.
Two key sources of pollution in America’s waterways are sewage overflows and stormwater runoff. In 2014, combined sewer overflows discharged 22 billion gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater to the Great Lakes alone. Absent dramatic action by Congress, all this pollution is going to get even worse very soon, as climate change brings more extreme precipitation and heavier flows of stormwater.
In July, the House of Representatives approved an additional $11 billion for water infrastructure (beyond U.S. EPA’s regular budget), as part of a broader appropriations bill. Some of this funding will also help secure safe drinking water for our communities. This figure seems large until compared to the $271 billion that EPA estimates it will take just to repair and maintain our wastewater infrastructure over the next 20 years.
Nearly 50 years ago, our nation adopted the Clean Water Act with a goal of making all our waterways safe for swimming. It’s high time we committed the resources to make this vision a reality. Please work to ensure that the Senate approves the $11 billion in additional water infrastructure funding in this year’s budget. The health of swimmers, businesses, and whole communities may well depend on it.