Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 — legislation containing the Water Systems Council's (WSC) top federal priority, The Water Supply Cost Savings Act — on a vote of 95 to 3. The Savings Act aims to reduce federal, state and local costs of providing high quality drinking water to millions of Americans in rural communities by facilitating the use of cost-effective alternatives like water well systems. The inclusion of the Savings Act in WRDA 2016 marks a fundamental recognition by Congress of the critical role that wells and well systems will play in providing affordable, quality drinking water to millions of Americans.
The WSC has been engaged in a multi-year campaign to educate members of Congress on the importance of wells and well systems in meeting America's drinking water challenges and today's vote in the U.S. Senate shows that policymakers are listening.
"The Water Supply Cost Savings Act will help rural and small communities across America significantly lower the total cost of providing clean drinking water to residents as well as provide new jobs," said Steve Anderson, WSC president and president of Merrill Manufacturing Co. "The fact that these communities can realize up to a 75 percent cost savings by using water wells vs. municipal pipeline systems demonstrates that we can cost-effectively meet our nation's critical water needs while supporting domestic manufacturing and jobs."
Other WSC members weighed in on the significance of this legislation:
Susan O'Grady, Global Communications Segment Leader, Goulds Water Technologies, a Xylem brand: "The Savings Act is an opportunity to change the way communities think about water supply systems. Every American has the right to clean and safe drinking water, and well water systems are a great way to affordably ensure that it is available. Both private wells and community wells need to be seriously considered for small towns. The cost savings are tremendous, as is the quality of the water itself. The only thing lacking here is the awareness that wells are an option."
Jeff Hyson, Sr. Director of Sales-Water Technologies, Pentair Flow and Filtration Solutions: "The timely reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) is critical to ensuring that our communities are properly equipped with flood control, dam safety and other related water management solutions, as well as helping provide access to safe drinking water in areas in need of upgraded infrastructure. The WRDA would help fund projects that could provide growth potential in the ground-based water supply pump industry, and others, thereby helping enable companies such as Pentair to employ workers at the factories in the U.S. where these products are manufactured."
DeLancey W. Davis, Vice President, Franklin Electric; President, North American Water Systems: "The Senate's passage of WRDA brings us that much closer to solving rural America's water needs. Franklin Electric has been supportive of this initiative for decades and looks forward to passage and implementation of the Water Supply Cost Savings Act."
The WSC will now turn its attention to the U.S. House of Representatives and to ensuring that the Savings Act is in the WRDA 2016 that ultimately lands on the President's desk.