Can We Afford to Defund Clean Water?

What would it be like to turn on the tap and not be sure the water was safe to drink?  That scenario may become a reality in the not-too-distant future if Washington continues to under- and defund the vital clean water provisions established by the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996.

In the latest continuing resolution budget deal between Congress and President Obama, clean water protections were a big loser. A whopping $997 million was slashed from the EPA’s programs for clean and safe drinking water. This comes at a time when the agency’s Safe Water Revolving Fund is urging uprgrades and improvements in the declining systems which provide Americans clean water:

“The Nation’s water systems must make significant investments to install, upgrade, or replace infrastructure to continue to ensure the provision of safe drinking water to their 240 million customers. Installation of new treatment facilities can improve the quality of drinking water and better protect public health. Improvements are also needed to help those water systems experiencing a threat of contamination due to aging infrastructure systems.”

The United State’s growing population and increasing indsutrial waste production–coupled with an aging and crumbling infrastructure–is causing alarm for conservationists and environmentalists. Experts share deepening concern over our ability to maintain a clean water supply.  Recent studies on newly-detected contaminants, such as prescription and over-the-counter drugs, along with the budget cuts, only increase that concern. 

From the ENS Newswire:

“The latest agreement between Congressional leaders and President Obama decimates water protections,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the nonprofit Food and Water Watch.  “The ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to help municipalities deliver clean water to U.S. citizens has been seriously threatened with cuts to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, the mechanism by which the federal government dispenses funds for the upkeep of our tap water and sewerage systems.”

The next question is what we do to try and recover what has been lost.  Any suggestions?


Photo from dreamstime


Janine H.
Janine H6 years ago

Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago


Charlotte Perry
.6 years ago

What?? Now we have to worry about clean water??? I understand budget cuts, but there are just some things that are basic human rights. We continue to pay more and more in taxes and receive less and less. Cut spending by cutting the money we send to other countries so they can have clean water, healthcare, education,etc. and use it here to help our own. After we have taken care of our own people, then help others. We need to worry about the quality of life our own people have. We have people right here that are homeless, without healthcare, uneducated, unemployed, hungry and trying to decide wether to buy food or keep warm. This should not be in a country as rich as ours. Charity should start at home.

Shirley E.
Shirley E6 years ago

We might have grown up taking access to clean water for granted, but of course in many parts of the world there's no water to have access to at all, clean or otherwise, and for those of us who are blessed with a good tap supply it comes at a price. In the UK there's a massive programme of work going on to replace ageing iron pipes with heavy duty plastic ones to protect the water supply for the next 80 years. The rain might fall from the sky but it takes hard cash & infrastructure to direct it where it's needed.

Tim R.
Tim R6 years ago

I have been in the environmental field for 30 some years, all involving water and water treatment, as well as my Grand father, Dad, Brother, and now me, EPA licensed.

We all had a hand in roles, but I chose the environment, rather than shove "something" down a pipe to the next guy to deal with, and

I had a like discussion with a co-worker / sales person today.
I told him, "Mark my word's", that there WILL SOON BE WARS OVER WATER. China is daming up water that sustains lower regions and countries that they have no control over.

The US EPA and Minerals management agencies' are on two (2) different pages, even though BOTH have to deal with the CLEAN WATER ACT.

Hydrofracking ( fracturing ) Is being used by BIG / HUGE OIL and GAS companies to retrieve trapped natural gas that would not be otherwise available.

References: GASLAND ( HBO Documentary)

Do YOUR OWN research!
Does poisoning one of our most NEEDED life sustaing resources ( water ) over-ride CORPORATE INTERESTS?

jorge v.

voting & singed

Chantal Dothey
Chantal Dothey6 years ago

Keep the water as it is.

Betsy M.
Betsy M6 years ago

Much of the US water system is already dangerously sold off to private for-profit industry.

Joseph Belisle
Joseph Belisle6 years ago

In a word, no.
I've read several articles that state that the average American has over 100 known toxic chemicals in their body right now. Over a dozen known carcinogens and many have one to several mutagens.
Defunding programs intended to keep our water clean to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy is an act of suicide. We should be able to declare our current government mentally unstable and a detriment to it's own safety and put sane people in who will work for the health and safety of the people.

So many people have responded here with great posts explaining how stupid this is. How we're being sold out to the wealthy.

Ray Howe
Ray Howe6 years ago

I know how to reduce the cost water treatment !, just take out all the fluodation plants in the the various states as it is only a dangerous poison and I believe it can affect the pipes it is running in . We have the same problem here in Australia with the addition of Fluoride and plants being run down