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EPA Aids Community Water Infrastructure Improvements

Washington, D.C. – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday announced the creation of the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center to aid the Nation’s communities in improving their wastewater, drinking water and stormwater systems.

Part of the White House Build America Investment Initiative (BAII), the program lends support through innovative financing and by helping communities build resiliency to climate change.

Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator, Water Quality Event 2014

Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator, Water Quality Event 2014

According to the announcement, BAII is a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and promote economic growth by creating opportunities for state and local governments and the private sector to collaborate, expand public-private partnerships, and increase the use of federal credit programs.

“Infrastructure is central to the President’s plan to build on the progress the U.S. economy is making by creating jobs and expanding opportunity for all Americans,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By modernizing the nation’s infrastructure we can protect our drinking water sources and enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change by avoiding financial and water supply losses from leaking pipes and reducing pollution from sewer overflows and wastewater discharges.”

The announcement went on to detail community-level adversities, stating that aging and inadequate water infrastructure hinders the ability of communities to provide clean drinking water, manage wastewater, reduce flooding, and provide recreational waters that are safe to swim and fish in.

Climate Change Sustainability

The program recognized the current and future impacts of climate change,  including intense and frequent storms, drought, floods, sea-level rise and water quality changes  and the need for sustainable infrastructure.

Initiatives included exploring methods of increasing financing for climate-resilient water infrastructure projects that integrate water efficiency, energy efficiency, water reuse and green infrastructure. Funding for stormwater activities was also noted.

Billions in Funding Needed

Rhode Island estimated a need for $ .7 billion in water infrastructure needs. The report did not list clean water infrastructure needs for Rhode Island as they were not reported.

Neighboring Massachusetts called for a total of $15.9 billion in need, with $7.9 billion needed for water infrastructure and $8 billion dedicated to clean water infrastructure.

Connecticut’s needs totalled $7.2 billion with $3.6 billion split respectively.

EPA’s initiatives include serving as a resource for communities,  municipal utilities, and private entities as they seek to address water infrastructure needs with limited budgets.

Funding is expected through EPA’s assistance in  exploration of public-private partnerships and innovative financing solutions.

An estimated $600 billion was predicted in  needs over the next 20 years to maintain and improve the nation’s water infrastructure.

State by State Water Infrastructure Needs  PDF

Note: The original link to the EPA document was no longer available. The PDF link has been added.

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