The following letter to the editor was published in the Poughkeepsie Journal on July 26, 2018 and was written by our Water and Natural Resources Director Liz Moran.
More Funding Needed to Repair Failing Water Infrastructure
Because of New York’s outdated and failing water infrastructure, boil water and no-swim advisories, as well as sewage overflows and water main breaks, are regular occurrences that place our health at risk. Poughkeepsie Journal’s July 17 piece, “Over 300,000 gallons of untreated waste spilled into Hudson River,” is an attention grabbing story for good reason – the amount of sewage that ends up in our waterways after it rains is alarming.
It has been estimated that, every year, 1.2 billion gallons of sewage flows into the Hudson River from the Capital Region alone, and 28 billion gallons of sewage is discharged into the New York Harbor.
The solution to this is simple – more funding. It has been estimated that over the next 20 years, approximately $80 billion is needed to upgrade and repair New York’s water infrastructure.
Thankfully, New York has been making progress by increasing funding in the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grant program. To date, 316 projects are underway thanks to funding from this program and 14,190 jobs will be created as a result of the 2017 water infrastructure grants alone.
But there’s a lot more that must be done to catch up.
A few months ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a promise of a $10 billion investment to fund environmental projects, like water infrastructure – a major announcement that has the public eagerly awaiting details. With preparations for the 2019 state budget soon upon us, it is our governor and legislators responsibility to prioritize increasing funding for water infrastructure.