EPA unveils $500 million water equity program to address infrastructure needs across the country

WASHINGTON – At the Clinton Global Initiative 2023 Meeting in New York, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox announced that the EPA is addressing pressing water challenges in 1,500 disadvantaged communities across the country. The EPA’s “Advancing Water Equity and Access for All Commitment” will invest $500 million, including funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, for technical assistance to help communities invest in water infrastructure to close America’s water equity gap.

All communities deserve access to safe, clean, and reliable water. Yet too many communities across America—rural, urban, and suburban, small and large—face challenges in providing safe drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services to their residents. An estimated 2.2 million people in the U.S. lack basic drinking water and indoor plumbing in their homes. Many more live in fear of infrastructure failure from severe climate events, or lack of water due to drought.

EPA’s “Advancing Water Equity and Access for All Commitment” will be implemented in collaboration with the Clinton Global Initiative and academic, non-profit, philanthropic and private sector partners to ensure more communities than ever have access to essential drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services.

Entities supporting EPA’s commitment include Columbia World Projects, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Delta Institute, Environmental Policy Innovation Center, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, Hawaii Community Foundation, Laural Foundation, Moonshot Missions, National Rural Water Association, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center and Center for Sustainable Community Solutions, University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, University of New Mexico Environmental Finance Center, US Water Alliance, Water Foundation, Wichita State University Environmental Center.

This commitment builds on EPA’s ongoing efforts to strengthen community water infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presented an opportunity to address water infrastructure needs with $50 billion in new funding – the largest ever federal investment in water. The announcement leverages EPA’s new water technical assistance (WaterTA) pilot programs and over $150 million in awards through its Environmental Finance Centers program to scale technical assistance and reach hundreds of communities. Participating communities have already begun to apply for and receive federal funding for their water infrastructure needs.



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