Governor Abbott and Texas legislators should capitalize on the latest guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency and secure over $2 billion in allocated federal funds in order to transform the state’s fragile water infrastructure. The National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program urges legislators to work with the Texas Water Development Board and draw on the EPA guidance to ensure all Texas communities have reliable access to clean drinking water.
“Texas’ water infrastructure needs extensive investment,” said Amanda Fuller, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program. “A single winter storm knocked out water service for more than half of all Texans. Major cities like Austin have had to repeatedly issue boil water notices over the past few years. The successful bipartisan effort to secure funds for Texas water systems should be welcome news in this regard. The governor and legislators need to pull down every dollar available to ensure Texas builds resilient water infrastructure that can hold up to a changing climate.”
“COVID-19 is straining communities’ financial ability to protect people’s water supply,” said Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud, executive director of Bayou City Waterkeeper. “This is only deepening the systemic, historic inequities that underserved communities, particularly communities of color, face in accessing clean water and coping with the effects of flooding and sewer failures. State leaders should capitalize on the new funding and technical guidance, prioritize underserved communities, and implement community-supported planning to help ensure that infrastructure funding tracks with lived experiences.”
“Access to clean water is fundamental,” said Mustafa Santiago Ali, vice president of environmental justice, climate, and community revitalization at the National Wildlife Federation. “The funding in the bipartisan infrastructure law will go a long way toward addressing the nation’s water infrastructure challenges, including replacing lead service lines, upgrading treatment plants, and protecting water quality. The administration’s visionary commitment encourages projects that incorporate natural systems, supports “future-proofed” designs that anticipate extreme weather driven by climate change and ensures equitable access by making nearly half the funding available as grants or forgivable loans. We look forward to working with EPA, states, and tribal nations to maximize on the ground impacts by ensuring that resources reach the communities in greatest need, as this historic funding is turned into projects that benefit people and wildlife.”