Many moons ago, we didn’t think twice about the health of our water. We just turned on the tap at our sink. But that was many moons ago. Now, we spend a lot on bottled water – then later read how some brands aren’t as pure and healthy as advertised. In the 1970s, the federal government had programs that helped municipalities create healthful water systems – in terms of taking water from some source and returning used-but-treated water to that source. Many waterways that had been polluted no longer were.
We may not have the perfect solution, but it’s far better – for us and for our environment – than what it was. If our government now choses to dismantle the system, we’ll need some personal solution. Comments afterwards.
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‘Far-Right Radicalism’: GOP Wants to Cut
Funding for Clean Water Programs by 64%
Jul 13, 2023
The advocacy group Food & Water Watch on Thursday called out Republicans on a U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee panel for pushing a 64% cut to a pair of federal clean water funds in the next fiscal year. Mary Grant, the group’s Public Water for All campaign director, in a statement, declared …
“House Republicans should be ashamed
of themselves. Their spending proposal
threatens the very safety of our country’s
water and wastewater systems for the
sake of political showmanship.”
The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), on Thursday marked up a GOP appropriations bill for fiscal year 2024. A Republican fact sheet celebrates proposed “cuts to wasteful spending” and “claw-backs of prior appropriations,” highlighting that it “reins in” the Environmental Protection Agency, “limits abuse of the Endangered Species Act,” and provides protections for the fossil fuel industry.
The GOP proposal would slash appropriations for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The former provides low-interest loans for infrastructure projects like wastewater facilities while the latter provides assistance for initiatives like improving drinking water treatment and fixing old pipes.
Grant stressed that the targeted programs “are widely popular across the political spectrum and have historically enjoyed bipartisan support,” as communities in every state rely on them “to make necessary improvements to keep water and sewer systems safe and reliable.”
For fiscal year 2023, the CWSRF got $1,638,861,000 and the DWSRF got $1,126,101,000, including congressionally directed spending projects; for next year, House Republicans want to allocate $535,000,000 and $460,611,000, respectively — a nearly $1.8 billion cut collectively. Grant charged …
“This far-right radicalism seeks to
undermine the essential programs of
a functioning government. We cannot
allow our country to return to an era
when rivers were on fire and com-
munities across the country faced
unmitigated toxic water threats.
“The proposed cuts would leave many
with unsafe water and exacerbate the
nation’s water affordability crisis,
adding more pressure on household
water bills at a time when families
are already grappling with soaring
costs for essential services.”
The U.S. Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats, “must reject this outrageous proposal out of hand,” she said.
“Safe water should not be a pol-
itical bargaining chip, nor used
to score cheap political points.
Safe water is nonnegotiable.”
Grant also called for passing the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability (WATER) Act “to safeguard federal water funding from these foolishly political annual appropriations battles.”
Reintroduced in March by U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the WATER Act is backed by Grant’s group and more than 500 other organizations.
“This is not an issue of any single municipality,
but for our entire country. Due to a combination
of climate change, outdated infrastructure, and
systemic disinvestment in our most vulnerable
communities, millions of Americans risk
losing access to one of the most basic
necessities for human life.”
She added …
“Access to safe, clean water is a
human right. The American water
crisis will only get worse if we fail
to act. I urge all my colleagues in
Congress, Democratic and Republican
alike, to support this pro-humanity
legislation and pass it without delay.”
Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter noted at the time that when Congress and President Joe Biden passed the bipartisan infrastructure deal in 2021, “they provided a modest down payment on critical water improvements.” She warned …
“But the investment falls far short
of what our communities desperately
need. The WATER Act is a responsible,
comprehensive approach to repairing
our failing water and sewer systems
that would provide water justice to com-
munities large and small for decades to
come. America needs the WATER Act now.”
The organization’s renewed demand for the legislation on Thursday came in the wake of recently released research from the U.S. Geological Survey suggesting that at least 45% of the country’s tap water is contaminated by per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), often called “forever chemicals” because they persist in the human body and environment for long periods.
It also followed a May ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority that dramatically reduced which wetlands are covered by the Clean Water Act—a decision that Food & Water Watch legal director Tarah Heinzen said “rejects… established science in favor of corporate developers’ profiteering.”
The court was criticized for hearing the case as the Biden administration was still working on a new waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which was finalized in December. Notably, the GOP appropriations bill considered by the panel on Thursday would also repeal that regulation.
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My personal preference: If I can personally do something to solve a problem, then I try to do it myself. Because over 90% of water use is non-potable – for toilets and hose-bibs – in our Garden Atrium development, we use rainwater for non-potable applications. Each home has a 1400-gallon cistern into which rainwater flows. Our initial homes use city water – but – instead of having a roughly $100 water bill, theirs runs about $3.50. Our later homes get their potable water from a well, so they have no water bill at all.
All homes also have a commercial grade RO filter at their kitchen sink, so they have no need whatever to buy bottled water. Thus, we enjoy water that’s chemical-free and toxin-free, and pay a lot less. If you add the cost of a cistern and a top-of-the-line RO filter to your mortgage – instead of paying for city water and bottled water – you’ll actually save a lot of money. Adding D’s comments …
“Taking care of yourself when the government is not able to do it is important.”