John B. McMillan: Water funding needed

January 22, 2013 

Water funding needed

A recent article and follow-up editorial acknowledged that clean water is critical to the state’s economic development and protection of its natural heritage. It is worth pointing out that the Clean Water Management Trust Fund is a nonregulatory program and driven by local needs for surface water quality protection and restoration.

The trust fund provides multiple programs to address surface-water quality through wastewater, stream restoration, stormwater, land acquisition and greenway projects. Projects also enhance recreational opportunities, protect military bases and provide critical support to economically distressed local communities in the repair of failing wastewater infrastructure systems.

The demand remains great for CWMTF funds. Infrastructure needs alone for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater are estimated at $16.6 billion between 2005 and 2030.

CWMTF received over $122 million in requests for funding in 2012. With only $10.75 million appropriated to CWMTF by the General Assembly, the majority of critical local needs were not met.

Water is the state’s most valuable natural asset. The trust fund is an essential part of local and statewide efforts to support economic and environmental health and should receive top priority for funding in the next budget.

John B. McMillan, Chairman, Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Raleigh

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