Here’s what the water sector wants from Congress and President-elect Biden

November 2020

In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden last week, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) urged the incoming administration to prioritize COVID-19 relief for water utilities and investment for the overall water infrastructure sector.

The letter, authored by association president Melissa Elliott, cites AWWA research that revenue shortfalls at U.S. drinking water utilities may reduce economic activity by $32.7 billion and cost 75,000 to 90,000 private-sector jobs. Drinking water utilities are expected to see revenues from customer payments drop by nearly $14 billion, according to AWWA estimates. This is the result of the elimination of water shutoffs for non-payment, increased late payments due to high unemployment, reductions in non-residential water demands, and the addition of fewer new customers due to economic stagnation.

The letter explains that while the CARES Act passed earlier this year did provide funding relief to state and local governments, the act also carried a provision prohibiting the use of those funds to offset lost local utility revenues. AWWA says many utilities, particularly those serving small to medium-sized communities, are at risk resulting from diminished operating revenues. Not only do these lost revenues mean local communities are less able to renew, repair, and sustain aging infrastructure and treatment facilities, but some are feeling the effects in their ongoing operating finances, which may result in the loss of operators who are needed to ensure the utility is in regulatory compliance, the association says.

Read more about the letter here:

Read the AWWA Letter to President Elect Biden here: