Small communities often have difficulty financing the construction and maintenance of traditional long-pipe drinking water systems as the cost per resident can be prohibitively expensive. New legislation has been introduced in Congress to provide small communities nationwide with critical information on the use of water wells and water well systems for high-quality drinking water has been introduced that is aimed at reducing the costs to federal, state, and local governments in providing quality drinking water to millions living in rural and isolated communities by promoting cost-effective community well water systems.
Introduced by Congressman Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), the Water Supply Cost Savings Act (Savings Act), HR 5659, is being widely supported by the water supply industry, including the Water Systems Council, the Water Quality Association and the National Groundwater Association, and being hailed as “the first piece of national legislation to provide local community decision makers with a cost effective option to utilize smaller domestic well water systems to meet community drinking water needs.”
There are 52,000 community water systems in the United States, of which 41,801 are small community water systems serving 3,300 people or less. The shortfall in drinking water infrastructure funding for small communities stands at $64.5 billion, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) most recent Drinking Water Needs Survey. The Savings Act will encourage these small communities to consider less expensive drinking water systems supplied by wells that could save taxpayers billions of dollars in infrastructure costs.
To assist small communities with their consideration of drinking water technology needs, the Savings Act also establishes a Drinking Water Technology Clearinghouse where the Administrator of the EPA and the Secretary of Agriculture will disseminate information on cost-effective, innovative, and alternative drinking water delivery systems.
“Delivering high quality drinking water at a lower cost is a win-win for small communities,” said Margaret Martens, Water Systems Council executive director. “The local projects we have already completed through the Water Well Trust have realized savings of as much as 94 percent over traditional long-pipe, centralized drinking water systems, proving that water wells are a reliable, cost-effective way for budget-challenged communities to provide access to safe drinking water for their residents.”