Clean and safe water is essential – and accessing it can be expensive. Providing water where it’s needed, when it’s needed, and how it’s needed is costly already – and aging infrastructure, emerging contaminants, climate threats, and more all threaten to keep costs rising and increasingly unaffordable for many Americans.
In the U.S., the majority of clean and drinking water providers are public, not-for-profit local utilities serving their communities in accordance with federal regulations. But while clean and safe water services advance federal goals, and protect public health and the environment for the benefit of all Americans, the federal-state-local partnership is strained. The federal cost-share for clean and drinking water has fallen for three decades to below 5 percent, which is a much smaller federal share than other core infrastructure sectors.
Water services are vital to public health, environmental protection, and economic opportunity. It will take a strong federal-state-local partnership to help support the common goal of clean and safe, accessible and affordable water for all.