Protecting Great Lakes
Great Lakes restoration investments help keep drinking water safe for the 30 million people who depend on the lakes for their water, but there is more work to do. Federal investments are needed now more than ever to ensure that every person has access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water.
Federal Investments are Protecting Drinking Water
In partnership with the states, the federal government provides low-interest loans to communities to help fix and replace their water treatment facilities, pipes, and other water infrastructure to meet their clean water goals. In addition to traditional water infrastructure, nature-based solutions are also being implemented so that trees and plants can help absorb flood waters and filter pollutants.
But Serious Threats Remain
Our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is crumbling. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that over the next 20 years the Great Lakes region needs $179 billion to bring our water infrastructure up-to-date. Meanwhile, water rates are becoming increasingly unaffordable for families: from 2010 to 2017, water rates increased by 41 percent across the country. Federal investments to support water infrastructure have dropped since 1977 when they made up 63 percent of total spending. By 2014, the federal contribution had dropped to 9 percent. We need a strong partnership with the federal government to increase funding for water infrastructure projects, to ensure water services are affordable, to invest in nature-based solutions, and to protect the source of our drinking water.
Contact Your Member of Congress
Let your member of congress know they should take action to protect the Great Lakes! Find out how to contact your senators and representative here. Tell them:
- The Great Lakes are our most important source of fresh water, providing drinking water to 30 million people. We must continue our efforts to clean and restore them.
- Although we have made progress the lakes still face serious threats.
- We can’t afford to stop now. These projects to clean up our lakes will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait.
FEATURED SUCCESS STORY
Neighbors Work to Reduce Runoff
Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is restoring a native prairie and marsh ecosystem to Chicago’s Northerly Island in Lake Michigan to provide habitat to native fish and wildlife, and an outdoor recreation space in the city for people.