Washington, DC – Communities across the country are reaping the benefits of federal economic stimulus funds, one year after President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. American Rivers helped secure the $6 billion for clean water and drinking water, including $1.2 billion in specific funding for green infrastructure and water efficiency. American Rivers has done an initial analysis of the impacts of this “green reserve” spending.
In a survey of 16 states, American Rivers found that demand for green reserve projects from the clean water state revolving fund exceeded availability by an average of at least 1.5 times and demand for the drinking water state revolving fund exceeded availability by an average of at least 1.2 times.
Katherine Baer, Senior Director for Clean Water at American Rivers is available to discuss findings with the media.
Green infrastructure and water efficiency projects provide multiple benefits to communities. For example, Philadelphia found that using green infrastructure including green roofs and rain gardens to control combined sewer overflows provided increased property values, energy savings, green jobs and recreational benefits compared to a traditional deep tunnel option.
Other funded projects include the creation of a “green street” in Maryland, a rebate program in Georgia to replace old, inefficient toilets, and an initiative in Ohio to decrease stormwater pollution with rain barrels and pervious pavement.
While jobs data is not yet available for the green reserve program, these projects can create good jobs. American Rivers estimates that covering even 1% of large buildings in America’s medium- to large-sized cities with green roofs will create over 190,000 jobs, and the Alliance for Water Efficiency found that a $10 billion investment in water efficiency projects would create 150,000-222,000 jobs and save 6.5-10 trillion gallons of water.
American Rivers will continue its analysis of the spending to better evaluate the program to ensure best results. This green funding set aside has been continued for FY10, and there is now almost $700 million available nationwide for projects including green roofs, green streets, and water efficiency.
Green infrastructure incorporates natural systems that can help supply clean water, reduce polluted runoff, reduce sewer overflows, minimize flooding and enhance community health and safety. Examples include restoring floodplains instead of building taller levees; planting trees and installing green roofs, rather than enlarging sewers or building a costly new treatment plant; and retrofitting buildings and homes with water-efficient plumbing instead of constructing an expensive water supply dam.
Learn more at www.americanrivers.org/greenfunding
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.