Water Infrastructure Investments Needed NOW
Governor Tim Walz announced in January of 2020 his intention to budget $300 million to water infrastructure upgrades and investments across the state of Minnesota. This proposal, as part of the bonding bill, got pushed to a special session in June, 2020 due to COVID-19 related constraints and that special session ended without progress on issues related to COVID-19, policing, or the bonding bill. A second special session in mid-July yielded action on policing concerns, but still no bonding bill. Constituents are calling for another session – there’s work still to do. It is time for us to hold our representatives accountable for maintaining the health and safety of our waters and communities. Please join us in writing to your representatives urging their support for Governor Walz’s proposal.
Below is a sample letter to send to your representatives. We encourage you to personalize letters with your own words and stories for a greater impact. Additionally, we need to make it abundantly clear that water infrastructure should be made a priority and that another session must be called to tackle this issue, among others. A third special session is likely for mid-August, so be aware of that if sending physical letters, and you can always rely on email or calls as that date comes closer.
Honorable [insert representative],
My name is ________. I’m a constituent from [insert city] and a/an [insert congregation/denomination] connected to the Ecumenical Water Initiative. I urge you to prioritize Governor Walz’s $300 million water infrastructure proposal if and when you reconvene for a third special legislative session.
As Minnesotans and people of faith, we hope and expect this issue to remain among the other key priorities you and colleagues take on yet this summer. The health of our drinking water and critical investments in our communities’ infrastructure cannot wait until the next bonding year.
[Insert values statement and a fact about the importance of water infrastructure investment here.]
Improving water infrastructure across the state of Minnesota is an important step in ensuring that all people have access to clean drinking water and we are resilient in the face of changing weather patterns as a result of climate change. Thank you for your time.
Sample Value Statements
- It is important to me that we keep our waters clean and healthy – the way in which we mitigate problems associated with aging and failing infrastructure has a huge impact.
- As a person of faith, I am called to be a steward of our waters for the sake of my neighbors and all creatures on earth.
- Jesus stood with the poor and marginalized and I believe we ought to do the same by helping communities cope with aging infrastructure.
- Water connects all of us – I want to make sure we have access to clean and safe water in all of our communities.
- Rural communities and communities of color disproportionately face water issues exacerbated by aging water infrastructure compared to affluent communities – I believe it is time to address this injustice.
Water Infrastructure Facts
- Our infrastructure across the state is approaching double its intended lifespan (100+ years). Pipes are literally falling apart. Many of the existing pipes still are lined with lead, which was banned in the 1980s. 15-22 million Americans are still served by lead water lines. Areas of North MPLS have worse water quality than Flint, MI.
- The Continued underfunding of wastewater collection and treatment systems poses the risk of possible contamination of 75% Minnesotans who have their drinking water sourced from groundwater and 84% of residents who receive centralized collection and 16% on site collection of wastewater and treatment systems.
- 17% of folks in rural areas report having problems with clean drinking water. Indigenous households are 19x more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing.
- Climate change could add an additional $448 to $944 billion in infrastructure funding needs through the middle of the century(current investments are about $743 billion.
- EPA estimates that Minnesota must invest approximately $7.4 billion over the next twenty years to upgrade community public water systems to comply with the Safe Water Drinking Act.