This editorial letter originally appeared in SWS May/June 2021 issue as "When it Rains, it Pours"
In April, there was a pipe leaking in my apartment building. Because of that, myself and the other tenants were asked to not use our kitchen sinks for two hours so repairs could be made.
In those two hours, I was reminded, yet again, how important water is to our daily lives. I could use my bathroom sink and take a shower, if I wanted. What I couldn’t do was refill my water bottle or water filter, cook, make coffee or tea, etc. You might be asking why I wouldn’t just use water from my bathroom sink to do any of the mentioned above, but that isn’t the point. The point is access to clean, usable water is something I, and a lot of the country, take for granted, and this two-hour window was a much-welcomed reminder.
This reminder comes at a time when the water industry is getting national attention. In early March, as we recognized in our last print issue, the American Society of Civil Engineers released its 2021 Report Card for America's Infrastructure. For the first time ever, storm water was graded on its own and received a ‘D.’ At the end of March, U.S. President Joe Biden announced his American Jobs Plan proposal. If approved, the $2 trillion package would include $111 billion for drinking water infrastructure improvements. Some of the key provisions that could impact the storm water sector include protecting and restoring nature-based infrastructure and making infrastructure more resilient to severe floods, hurricanes and other increasing natural disasters.
Additionally, in the beginning of April, the U.S. EPA announced the availability of $67 million in grant funding through the new Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant Program. According to the EPA, this program will provide funding for critical overflow and storm water infrastructure projects. It was a busy Q1 for the water industry, and as more details emerge, we will continue to bring you the latest information.