The U.S. EPA announced a commitment that will invest $500 million for technical assistance to help communities support thier water infrastructure.
EPA’s Advancing Water Equity and Access for All will help address pressing water challenging in 1,500 disadvantaged communities across the country.
“Too many people in the United States lack access to clean and safe water. As result, these communities face significant health issues and barriers to economic opportunity,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents a historic opportunity to change the odds for people living in these areas. With this commitment to 1,500 communities, EPA is delivering on the Biden-Harris Administration’s promise to invest in America and leave no family behind.”
Many communities across America—rural, urban, and suburban, small and large—face challenges in providing safe drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services to their residents. An estimated 2.2 million people in the U.S. lack basic drinking water and indoor plumbing in their homes. Many more live in fear of infrastructure failure from severe climate events, or lack of water due to drought. These concerns will only grow due to more frequent floods, droughts, and higher average temperatures from climate change. Underserved and disadvantaged communities are often most at risk.
This latest commitment aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration's Justice40 Initiative, which directs 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities, including those that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.
EPA’s Advancing Water Equity and Access for All Commitment will be implemented in collaboration with the Clinton Global Initiative and academic, non-profit, philanthropic and private sector partners to ensure more communities than ever have access to essential drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services.
Entities supporting EPA’s commitment include Columbia World Projects, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Delta Institute, Environmental Policy Innovation Center, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, Hawaii Community Foundation, Laural Foundation, Moonshot Missions, National Rural Water Association, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center and Center for Sustainable Community Solutions, University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, University of New Mexico Environmental Finance Center, U.S. Water Alliance, Water Foundation, Wichita State University Environmental Center.
The announcement leverages EPA’s new water technical assistance (WaterTA) pilot programs and over $150 million in awards through its Environmental Finance Centers program to scale technical assistance and reach hundreds of communities. Participating communities have already begun to apply for and receive federal funding for their water infrastructure needs.