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CONTACT: Food & Water Watch
Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, kfried(at)fwwatch.org, (202) 683-2500
Sequestration Could Jeopardize Access to Safe, Clean, Affordable Water
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
WASHINGTON - February 28 - “The looming sequestration cuts will have a profound effect on one of our very most important resources—water. Municipal water supplies already face severe budget challenges, underfunded to the tune of about $30 billion a year.
“With the sequestration, the State Revolving Funds, the most common mechanism through which communities receive federal support for their drinking and wastewater systems, could be cut by about 6 percent, or $135 million, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
“While it is outrageous enough that Congress would have the audacity to play chicken with some of our most essential resources, the consequences of inadequate funding for our essential drinking and wastewater systems would be nothing short of tragic. Perhaps the policymakers currently locking political horns over the federal budget would be quicker to avert the sequestration if they anticipated the water main breaks, tainted drinking water and sewage overflows that could afflict communities when austerity measures hit.
“Water is an essential, irreplaceable resource no matter the budgetary or political climate. It is a shame the funding for clean, safe and affordable water is left to the whims of Congressional appropriators. This is why we need to implement a consistent source of federal funding for community water systems so every American has reliable access to safe, clean, affordable water and well-functioning wastewater systems.”