Our water infrastructure: Extolling low rates only increases inequities
NAWC President and CEO Rob Powelson’s latest editorial in The Hill, “Our water infrastructure: Extolling low rates only increases inequities,” explains how the water tragedies of Flint, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi show why we must move away from using low rates “as the benchmark against which water systems are judged.”
“Efforts to keep rates artificially low means that some water and wastewater providers do not have the resources needed to properly maintain infrastructure. Low rates directly translate into deferring the work needed to protect public health and our environment. Perpetuating the cycle of underinvestment has resulted in failing infrastructure and poor water quality that disproportionately impacts communities of color and rural communities.”
Powelson calls for true water equity, which means “meeting water quality standards, addressing fundamental flaws in our water grid and investing in infrastructure, while offering customer assistance to protect our most vulnerable citizens.” He concludes by warning that “continuing down this path of elevating the importance of low rates above all else means water and wastewater infrastructure in our cities and towns will continue fall into disrepair, resulting in water unsafe to drink, unreliable service, boil water notices, raw sewage discharges into streams and other environmental harms that hurt our communities and our economy.”
Read the full editorial at The Hill.