Today, ASDWA has released a new resource needs report titled Insufficient Resources for State Drinking Water Programs Threaten Public Health. This report documents a yearly shortfall of at least $230 million between the resources available in states (from all sources – both federal and state) and those needed by states to administer minimum required programs.
ASDWA last reported on state resource needs in April 2003. Since that time, the situation has, in many respects, grown worse.
Investments in state drinking water programs may be perceived by the public as a relatively low priority because state drinking water programs can be “victims of their own success.” A successful, prevention-based program makes few headlines and operates largely outside the public eye, which makes it harder to explain the importance of adequate funding. But the success of these essential state programs is not guaranteed and states continue to face fiscal challenges that compromise their effectiveness. In response to the report’s findings, we believe that Congress, with the support of the Administration, needs to appropriate more funds for state drinking water programs. In addition, we encourage states to consider appropriating more state general funds and, where feasible, instituting new or enhancing existing fee programs. We also urge EPA to allow state flexibility in administering federal requirements, wherever appropriate, and recommend that states adopt program efficiencies to make the best use of available resources.
For more information on this report – including a “Recommendations Summary” and a copy of a press release – please go to www.asdwa.org.