A Fairer Funding Stream: How Reforming the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Can Equitably Improve Water Infrastructure Across the Country

Credit: Athens Village Wastewater Treatment Plant, Athens, Greene County NY

Co-authored with Katy Hansen, EPIC

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) provides billions of dollars in federal funding for local wastewater and stormwater systems that provide safe sanitation, healthy waterways, and protection from flooding. Given the importance of these resources, it’s critical that the CWSRF provide equitable access to financial assistance to all communities across the country—no matter where they’re located or who lives in them.

To better understand the distribution of CWSRF funding, NRDC and EPIC analyzed data on CWSRF assistance from 2011 to 2020 and found that while municipalities with more water quality violations and lower median incomes are statistically more likely to receive assistance, smaller municipalities and those with larger populations of color are statistically less likely to receive CWSRF assistance. States’ CWSRF policies must be reformed to provide all potential recipients with an even playing field. The goal of clean water for all will remain out of reach until every community has a fair and equitable shot at receiving financial assistance through the nation’s largest clean water infrastructure program.

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