Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, NACWA has been working with our clean water agency members and our partner organizations across the water and municipal sector to urge Congress to act to provide federal relief to utilities and assistance to households unable to pay their water bills. NACWA’s ongoing advocacy encompasses direct funding for utilities for lost revenues and COVID-19-related expenses, assistance to households unable to pay their water bills, support for essential employers and workers, stabilizing and improving municipal financing tools, and engaging with the utility perspective in the conversation around water shutoffs.
With the pandemic persisting far beyond initial expectations, Congress has continued to negotiate the terms of another round of major COVID-19 relief, with many twists and turns over the summer and fall. As of late October 2020, differences between Congress and the White House appeared irreconcilable until after the election. NACWA remains engaged with Congressional staff in the meantime as is preparing for further action on the next round of “relief” or “recovery” in late 2020 or early 2021.
NACWA believes Congress needs to recognize and respond to the tireless efforts of clean water agencies to protect public health and prevent greater spread of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. To date, a number of public clean water agencies have benefitted from CARES Act funds made available to their local communities however, this funding was not available to all utilities nor can it be used – per Congressional directive – for lost revenues. To date, no direct aid has been provided for the water sector.
NACWA urges all public utilities to communicate with Congress and share their experience with fellow utilities and their federal representatives during this challenging time. Your continued advocacy is essential to keeping the sector’s needs heard at a time of unprecedented concern and advocacy, with nearly every facet of American life and our economy impacted.
Below is a key list of advocacy resources, which NACWA will keep updated over time. To discuss COVID-19 advocacy contact Kristina Surfus, Jason Isakovic or anyone on the NACWA team.