COVID 4 Stimulus Bill Must Recognize: Water Is Life

Image credit: Erik Mclean on Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented stress on the U.S. public health infrastructure, the economy and the American people, and the federal government is passing sweeping legislation to address the crisis. In a recent opinion piece, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) states that water is a critical element of everyday life, especially in this time of hardship, when people are spending more time at home, American citizens need access to clean running water, free of toxins, to comply with sanitation and basic needs.

The NRDC argues that the upcoming COVID response legislation should address immediate and long-term water, public health, and economic needs. To address immediate water needs, they suggest including provisions to institute a national moratorium on shutoffs of water and other utilities, make water and sewer bills more affordable, and provide assistance to drinking water and wastewater utilities to compensate for lost revenues due to the current crisis.

Additionally, the NRDC suggests that increased funding to state programs should be included in the stimulus bill to address long-term needs and repercussions. This additional funding would enable access to utility infrastructure and technical support, address and remove water contamination by PFAS, lead, and other pollutants, and establish an EPA grant program for construction, repair, and replacement of household wastewater systems. The NRDC maintains that increasing funding to these programs will provide long-term benefits including a healthier population and environment, more jobs, and a stronger economy.

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