BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today called for the revitalization of our nation’s public water systems on World Water Day. The Senator’s remarks coincided with the release of a report by Corporate Accountability International entitled “Public Water Works!” The report found there is strong bipartisan support by Americans to invest in the nation’s public water systems.
“Our nation’s water systems provide a critical public health function and are essential to life, economic development and growth,” said Senator Cardin, chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. “We need a commitment to invest in clean drinking water and to ensure that wastewater treatment facilities can adequately treat waste water. I believe there is a bipartisan consensus for strong federal support and investment to ensure the continued health of our nation’s water systems and of our communities.”
The report documented that over the last 35 years the federal government’s investment in upgrades to public water systems has declined from a high of 78 percent to a paltry 3 percent. In Fiscal Year 2010 federal appropriations reached a 16-year high of $1.4 billion — less than one-tenth of what was needed to close the annual water infrastructure investment gap.
The report highlights the fact that closing the investment gap would generate $265.6 billion in economic activity and create close to 1.9 million jobs over the next five years.
Reinvestment could also spare businesses $734 billion in costs and sales lost due to unreliable water infrastructure.