If you’re popping corks about America’s recommitment to Republican values, you can put away your champagne glasses. This week’s election results are less about Republican values, programs and policies than they are about a growing state of frustration on behalf of Americans who feel ignored by their elected representatives. Pushed to the brink, citizens united in throwing out one Congress in the hope that a new one will actually listen to them. So what do the people want? Safe, clean and reliable drinking water. Surprised? Well, don’t be.
According to a new study by the ITT Corporation, nearly two-thirds of voters and over half of businesses are willing to pay more for water to ensure its quality and availability. Despite the “will of the people” to keep the water flowing, Congress has refused to raise funding levels for water-related infrastructure replacement. In failing to do so, they have created what’s expected to be a $224 billion spending gap by 2022. Seems like a costly disconnect.
If the squeaky wheel gets oil, you’d think a leaky pipe might get some attention too. However, utility budgets remain stretched painfully thin while infrastructure replacement needs continue to rise. This while we continue to lose over two trillion gallons of clean water every year at an estimated annual cost of $2.6 billion. No wonder people are frustrated.
If Congress neglects to increase federal funding for water infrastructure systems, utilities will be hard pressed to continue providing safe, reliable and clean drinking water and wastewater services.
What do you suppose will happen on election night when that happens?