White House Announces Infrastructure/Jobs Plan - Promising Investments for Water Efficiency

Yesterday the White House announced its American Jobs Plan  with a focus on economic development and job creation through infrastructure investment. AWE and its member organizations are currently analyzing the plan and working with congress and Biden administration officials to ensure funding for water-efficient infrastructure and products are included.

Water-efficient infrastructure has many benefits, including: 

  • Reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
  • Reducing infrastructure costs by limiting the need for additional capacity for water and wastewater systems. 
  • Saving water utility customers money. 
  • Making communities less susceptible to water shortages, flooding, and sewer overflows. 
  • Protecting aquifers, lakes, and streams. 
  • Moreover, AWE’s report, Transforming Water: Water Efficiency as Infrastructure Investment, demonstrates that investment in water efficiency will produce economic output benefits that would range between $2.5 billion and $2.8 billion per billion dollars of direct investment.

The eight-year American Jobs Plan includes a number of investments that hold promise for water efficiency, including: 

  • $56 billion in grants and low-cost flexible loans to states, Tribes, territories, and disadvantaged communities to modernize drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems in rural communities. These investments will improve water efficiency, especially if the grants can fund the replacement of leaking water system pipes, and incentives for utility customers to purchase water-efficient products and appliances and transform landscapes. 
  • $50 billion to improve "infrastructure resilience," portions of which would fund:
    • Water efficiency and recycling programs to address the western drought crisis. 
    • Infrastructure in communities vulnerable to climate-driven disasters and to "build back above existing codes and standards." AWE believes this program should "build back" with updated plumbing standards and WaterSense® products to help community resilience and save water customers money.
    • "A bipartisan tax credit to provide incentives to low- and middle-income families and to small businesses to invest in disaster resilience." Water conservation products help prevent water shortages and flooding like those seen in Texas last year, and AWE will advocate for their inclusion in this proposed tax credit. Similarly, AWE continues to advocate for making all water conservation rebates tax-free, as is the case with energy efficiency rebates.
  • $213 billion to build and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable homes and $100 billion to upgrade and build public schools. AWE will advocate for the inclusion of plumbing system repair, water-efficient fixture and appliance upgrades, and water-efficient landscape design and efficient irrigation products in these proposed programs. This program represents an opportunity for water efficiency to help customers lower their water bills.
  • $46 billion worth of clean energy products purchased by the federal government. AWE encourages the administration to include energy-efficient products that use water in this initiative, such as WaterSense-labeled faucets and showerheads and ENERGY STAR® clothes washers and dishwashers.

AWE will provide further updates as details emerge.