Monday, October 19, 2015

Drinking Water Loan Program Locks Up $1.1 Billion Slated For State And Local Systems

Tax dollars appropriated, but unspent, in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund totaling about $1.1 billion could be deployed to repair and improve the nation’s drinking water supply systems, but poor management, project delays and administrative difficulties have prevented use of the money for its intended purpose. Twenty percent of the cash set aside for repairing and replacing leaking pipes and water mains, century old storage tanks, and decaying treatment plants gets spent for paying the salaries of state water employees, while lack of matching funds and inability to repay loans from the Revolving Fund with inadequate water ratepayer revenue have slowed applications for funding to a crawl.

Systems around our nation suffer 700 water main failures every day. Political inertia blocks water rate increases which could pay for system maintenance and improvements, and more frequent and more disruptive failures will continue if the locked up funds remain unspent, according to American Society of Civil Engineers past president Greg DiLoreto: “Americans have to understand that if they want this system, they are going to have to be willing to finance it.”
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