The U.S. has over one million miles of pipes that carry the country’s water supply. However, many of those pipes are aging and becoming out-of-date. With water impacting every American’s life, investing in our nation’s water delivery systems is crucial. The need to invest in water delivery systems over the years has only increased and is a more pressing issue. The problem is not just aging pipes. The sources of the drinking water are also becoming out-of-date, which include depleted aquifers and inadequate storage. As land and population distribution continue to change, new demands emerge.
The U.S. has faced these issues for decades. As water systems age and little investment is made into water delivery systems, the country is paying a costly price. Over the next 10 years, the U.S. will need to invest $123 billion per year to ensure that the water systems throughout the country are up-to-date.
The problem with Missouri’s drinking water infrastructure isn’t just a lack of access to water, but also the systems that are used to deliver the water. Though a majority of Missourians receive safe drinking water, there is still a portion of the population that does not live in an area that meets the minimum water quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Over 300,000 people in Missouri live in communities that have outdated water systems.
One important program to help states update their water infrastructure is the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF), which serves as a federal-state financial assistance program in which states receive federal grants and contribute an additional 20% in matching funds. The DWSRF acts as an infrastructure bank to provide low interest loans for drinking water infrastructure projects. As recipients pay back the loans into the state’s revolving loan fund, the state makes new loans to other recipients. Through 2016, state revolving loan funds have provided more than $30 billion for water infrastructure projects.
President Trump recognizes the importance of this program for infrastructure projects, and his budget proposal calls for increasing federal funds for this program. More funding for this program will greatly benefit states like Missouri to help update its water delivery systems. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I look forward to working with President Trump to address these pressing issues.