In partnership with the states, the federal government provides low-interest loans to communities to help fix and replace their water treatment facilities, pipes, and other water infrastructure to meet their clean water goals. In addition to traditional water infrastructure, nature-based solutions are also being implemented so that trees and plants can help absorb flood waters and filter pollutants.
Our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is crumbling. Based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Watershed Needs Survey and Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment, over the next 20 years the Great Lakes region needs $188 billion to bring our water infrastructure up-to-date. Meanwhile, water rates are becoming increasingly unaffordable for families: from 2010 to 2017, water rates increased by 41 percent across the country. Federal investments to support water infrastructure have dropped since 1977 when they made up 63 percent of total spending. By 2014, the federal contribution had dropped to 9 percent. We need a strong partnership with the federal government to increase funding for water infrastructure projects, to ensure water services are affordable, to invest in nature-based solutions, and to protect the source of our drinking water.
Let your member of congress know they should take action to protect the Great Lakes! Contact your senators and representative and tell them:
- The Great Lakes are our most important source of fresh water, providing drinking water to 30 million people. We must continue our efforts to clean and restore them.
- Although we have made progress the lakes still face serious threats.
- We can’t afford to stop now. These projects to clean up our lakes will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait.
Installing nature-based infrastructure at three sites in Hobart, Indiana, is preventing at least 800,000 gallons of polluted stormwater runoff from flowing into Lake Michigan, as well as raising awareness about stormwater issues.