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Water: Sustainable Infrastructure

Talk About Sustainable Water Infrastucture

Community support of long-term water infrastructure investment is critical to achieving a greater level of sustainability. Local officials play a key role in communicating the state of the community infrastructure, the value of infrastructure investments, and the benefits to the community. Community awareness is vital to securing support for the investments that all communities must make—and to securing the funding to do so.

Communicating Why Water Infrastructure is Important

The Water Environment Federation (WEF)Exit EPA Disclaimer has developed "Water is Life, and Infrastructure Makes it Happen"Exit EPA Disclaimer, an education program designed to teach the value of water infrastructure and the importance of investing in its long-term stability.

Additional campaign materials provided on the WEF website include:

The American Water Works Association (AWWA)Exit EPA Disclaimer has developed Only Tap Water DeliversExit EPA Disclaimer, a grassroots media campaign to help utilities and public officials communicate the value of tap water service and the need to reinvest in water infrastructure to consumers, media, and other stakeholders.

Additional materialsExit EPA Disclaimer are available to AWWA member utilities and include:

  • Consumer Handouts
  • Print Ads
  • Radio PSA's
  • Children's Activities
  • Speech Template
  • PowerPoint Presentations
  • Editorial Board Briefing Guidelines
  • Talking Points
  • Logo Art

The National Water Research InstituteExit EPA Disclaimer has established a Utility Branding NetworkExit EPA Disclaimer to help water sector organizations communicate the value of the services they provide to their communities. 

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Have the Answers about Rates

Most of the funding for water infrastructure comes from the revenues generated by utilities. No local official needs to be told that rates for these essential services are a touchy point for their constituents; however, holding rates steady for the long term is not sustainable. Due to inflation, the revenues that your utilities bring in today will have less buying power in the future; therefore, keeping rates steady actually decreases a utility budget each year.

One way to support sustainability of your community infrastructure is to know and communicate the facts about water rates to your constituents.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Pricing Water Services: This page offers some answers to common questions asked by consumers. Take a look at these questions, and know the answers for your community—not just the general answers that EPA provides. They can be very helpful in building awareness in your community or as part of an awareness campaign.

  • Affordability Considerations: This page provides resources and information about water affordability strategies. All communities have at least some portion of the population for whom water and sewer rates are a real financial burden. For some, that percentage is quite high. Implementing or bolstering approaches to assist those in need is an important part of communicating your concern about rates, while still ensuring that utilities have the revenue they need to both operate and maintain your systems.

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Additional Resources

Liquid Assets: The Story of Our InfrastructureExit EPA Disclaimer This PBS documentary has been shown all around the country and has proven very effective at communicating the value of water sector infrastructure and the challenges that many communities face. Get it shown in your community!

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