Great Lakes Update from Washington, D.C.

There are three updates from Washington which may be of interest. First, the Great Lakes Senators are circulating a Water Resources Development Act sign on letter to increase support. Second, the Government Accountability Office has released a water infrastructure report. And third, the State Department is meeting to discuss a global water strategy.

Great Lakes Senators circulate WRDA letter

Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is asking Great Lakes Senators to sign onto a letter emphasizing support for key Great Lakes provisions in a final Water Resources Development Act.  The letter includes references to upgrading water infrastructure, including Flint’s; supporting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act; focusing on the Great Lakes Navigation System; and endorsing the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.  The letter can be read here.  Currently, Sens. Kirk (R-Ill), Portman (R-Ohio), and Casey (D-Pa.) have signed on.  Please take a moment to encourage your Senator’s to sign onto this letter.  The deadline is tomorrow, Wednesday, October 19, so please send a note right away either via twitter (a list of handles can be found here) or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.  Offices can contact Jon Vanderplas with Sen. Kirk’s office to sign on.


Government Accountability Office releases water infrastructure report

The report looks at selected midsize and large cities in the United States that have declining populations and the threats posed by their outdated water infrastructure systems. Read the report here:

The summary of the report reads “EPA estimates water and sewer utilities will need to spend $655 billion over the next 20 years to maintain, upgrade, or replace water infrastructure. Many midsize and large cities that lost a large percentage of their population are struggling to replace their pipes and treatment plants. Without improvements, these cities may be at serious risk of more frequent accidental sewage discharges and lead contamination among other things. Concerned that utility rates are increasingly unaffordable for low-income customers, some utilities are reducing water treatment capacity or decommissioning lines in vacant areas to fit current demands.”


State Department meeting to discuss Global Water Strategy

From the Federal Register: Global Water Strategy
On October 28, the U.S. State Department will hold a public meeting to discuss a global water strategy. The strategy will focus on clean drinking water, sanitation, water management, and cooperation.

The meeting will be held at the State Department offices in Washington, D.C. Comments on the shape of the strategy can be submitted by web survey or email: Comments are due November 12. To attend the meeting, RSVP via the above email address.

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