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Friday, December 14, 2012

Water Quality Management: A Compendium

Dominating this 500+ page Compendium are extensive sections covering implementation of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. A third equally extensive section focuses on water infrastructure.

The two federal laws, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, provide the framework for the nation’s efforts to provide safe and healthy water to its citizens. Although much progress has been made towards the goals established in these laws, long-standing problems persist, and new problems have emerged. Specific areas of interest include whether additional steps are necessary to achieve the overall goals of these acts; how to meet the costs and technological challenges of providing safe drinking water and cleaning the flow of used water from a community; and what is the appropriate federal role in guiding and paying for safe and healthy water and other activities.

Over the last 35 years, federal, state and local governments, and private utilities have invested more than $100 billion in water infrastructure in order to attain the goals of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet remaining funding needs are projected to be as much as $660 billion over the next two decades. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if there is no increase in investment, there will be about an $11 billion annual gap between current capital expenditures for water infrastructure (which total $23 billion annually) and projected spending needs. Analysts predict that, barring major breakthroughs in technology, investment costs will rise for decades to come as more of the existing water infrastructure deteriorates. Many systems simultaneously face the need to increase security measures and to construct treatment plants to remove newly regulated drinking water contaminants. At issue are how to meet funding needs and what are the appropriate public and private sector roles in doing so. State, municipal, and rural stakeholders have called for greater federal investment in water infrastructure, while others (including privately owned water utilities) have argued for greater self-reliance.

Date of Report: December 10, 2012
Number of Pages: 521
Order Number: C-12020
Price: $79.95

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