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Large Gap for Funding of U.S. Stormwater Needs
Number Pegged at $7.5 Billion Annually

Large Gap for Funding of U.S. Stormwater Needs

According to the Water Environment Federation, "stormwater is the only growing source of water pollution in many waterways across the country." And with the growth of urban populations and the expectations of more frequent and intense storms in the U.S., "there is ever-increasing pressure on stormwater systems and water infrastructure."


A recent survey of this country's stormwater sector found that there exists an estimated $7.5 billion funding gap between what is allocated for upkeep and expansion of our stormwater infrastructure each year and what is needed.

The first of its kind, the MS4 Needs Assessment Survey was conducted by the Water Environment Federation, a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of water quality professionals around the world. Besides the shortfall in funding, the responses revealed the top priorities and challenges of the organization's U.S. members.

In a statement released by the WEF, the findings included:

Regulatory compliance, local flooding, and water quality and habitat restoration issues topped the list of important program drivers by Phase I and II (municipal and non-traditional) permittees.

Lack of funding, aging infrastructure, and evolving regulations were the most significant challenges.

The greatest need for information and technical resources is for stormwater infrastructure funding and financing. The respondents also cited a need for technical information on, and products for green infrastructure practices and innovative techniques/technologies, as well as information related to asset management.

The statement pointed out the "unexpected finding" of the lack of priority put on the issue of climate change, which the WEF sees as a need inform their members about its expected future impacts on their industry.

In summing up the results of the report, the organization's executive director Eileen O'Neill said, "An important first step in a maturing infrastructure sector is to better understand the fundamental challenges and needs. This survey and analysis represent this first major step in the stormwater sector, which is a field that is notoriously data-poor. By collecting data on the MS4 sector, this effort identifies the priorities that need to be addressed in the near term while allowing for planning for coverage of other areas in a long-term strategic fashion."



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June 19, 2019, 2:55 am PDT

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