The Water Quality Association welcomes the introduction of the Healthy Drinking Water Affordability Act, also known as the Healthy H2O Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which has received bipartisan support, aims to improve drinking water in rural communities.
Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and David Rouzer (R-NC) co-sponsored the legislation, which authorizes a new grant program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would cover costs of water quality testing and the purchase, installation and maintenance of POU/POE water filtration products certified by an ANSI-accredited body. Funding would go directly to individuals, licensed child-care facilities, non-profits, and local governments.
“We applaud Representatives Pingree and Rouzer for introducing the Healthy H20 Act that will increase access to safer drinking water in rural communities,” said Pauli Undesser, Executive Director of the Water Quality Association. “This grant program will help Americans who are most vulnerable to contaminants in their water supply – children, the elderly, and households that rely on private wells. By increasing access to testing and water filtration, we can support the health and safety of these communities.”
This is a companion bill to S.4081, which was introduced earlier this year in the U.S. Senate by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The House version of the bill will remain mostly identical; however, it expands eligible rural communities for this grant to those with up to 10,000 in population, an increase from the USDA regulation default of 2,500.
The Healthy H20 Act is the result of a longstanding effort by WQA’s Clean Water for All Taskforce, whose goal is to craft legislation that will help provide clean and safe drinking water to all Americans. In addition to WQA, more than 20 organizations now support the bill, including the National Ground Water Association, The Water Council, NSF International, IAPMO, the American Supply Association, the Water Systems Council, the Water Well Trust and the Groundwater Foundation.
More information on the bill, including the full text of the legislation and a one-page explainer sheet, is available at wqa.org/healthyh2O.