Report Raises Significant Concerns with Flat Federal Funding For Drinking Water

ASDWA has released a report, Beyond Tight Budgetsthat raises significant concerns with flat federal funding for state and territorial drinking water programs. State and territorial drinking water programs are chronically underfunded, which constrains their ability to protect public health. Federal support from the Public Water Supply Supervision (PWSS) Program and the set-asides from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF) have remained flat for the past decade. Inflation over the past decade has increased states’ costs by 20%, and this is on top of an existing funding gap in 2013 of approximately 40% in ASDWA’s 2013 Insufficient Resources report.

In addition to inflationary impacts, there are increasingly new resource demands from non-regulatory activities such as post-Flint Lead and Copper Rule oversight, algal toxins, per- and polyfluoroalkly substances (PFAS), Legionella, and SDWIS Prime – the new software that will run drinking water programs and report data and information to EPA. ASDWA asked states to estimate the increased resource demands from these activities and found that states are experiencing work are experiencing workload increase ranging from 1.1% to 12.5%, with an average workload increase of 4.3%.

Beyond these non-regulatory activities, new regulations are coming and the additional resource demands on states could be significant. Earlier this year, ASDWA estimated, in its Costs of States’ Transactions Study (CoSTS), that possible regulatory requirements for Long-Term Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LT-LCR) could increase states’ workloads by an additional 10% or more. Adding the existing funding gap in 2013 to inflation and non-regulatory activities and potential LT-LCR yields a total funding gap of 73.3%, which is a significant concern for anyone interested in safe drinking water.