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Op-Ed: NAWC Executive Director on Private Investments

In a NorthJersey.com letter, Michael Deane, National Association of Water Companies Executive Director, details the urgent water infrastructure investment needs of municipalities across New Jersey and that a government-only option is often insufficient to cover them. He also addresses NAWC members’ investment in the systems they operate, not just monetarily, but also through industry expertise. Read the full piece below:

Regarding “Federal funds needed to fix state’s aging sewage systems” (Opinion, northjersey.com, Aug. 16):

This op-ed details the urgent water infrastructure investment needs of municipalities across New Jersey. Indeed, as the American Society of Civil Engineers laid out in its latest report card, New Jersey’s government-run water systems are under “immense pressure … [to] keep rates artificially low.” When water rates do not support the needed investment, infrastructure begins to crumble. What is certain is that a mythical pot of federal funding is not the solution.

The six largest members of the National Association of Water Companies invest nearly $2.7 billion annually in their water systems. By comparison, the total annual federal appropriation for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is approximately $2.3 billion. One example of private-sector investment close to home comes from Haddonfield where New Jersey American Water spent $16 million in three years to upgrade sewer pump stations and install new water and sewer mains. In fact, 42 percent of New Jerseyans are served by private water providers.

Professional water operators not only bring an unparalleled level of expertise to the communities they serve, but also provide crucial capital for water infrastructure improvements. When the challenge is this large – EPA estimates $600 billion is needed over the next 20 years for drinking water alone – waiting around for federal funding is not an option. Private water operators are investing in water systems every day across New Jersey and have a proven track record of operational excellence.

Michael Deane

Washington, D.C., Aug. 18

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