President Biden calls for investment in water infrastructure and rivers to address injustice, boost economy

March 31, 2021

March 31, 2021 
Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145 

In the American Jobs Plan released today, President Biden emphasized the need to invest in the nation’s water infrastructure, as part of a plan to strengthen the economy, address environmental injustice and revitalize the nation. The plan notes that the nation’s water systems are “crumbling” and proposes important steps to protect clean, safe drinking water and invest in nature-based infrastructure including wetlands and watersheds. 

Rivers are among the most degraded ecosystems in the nation, and more than two million people in the U.S. live without access to clean, running water. Black, Latino, Indigenous, low-income and rural communities are disproportionately burdened by aging infrastructure, polluted water supplies, and unreliable or unaffordable access to safe drinking water. 

The American Rivers report “Rivers as Economic Engines: Investing in rivers, clean water, communities and our future” details how equitable investment in clean water and river health creates jobs and boosts the economy. 

Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers, made the following statement: 

“Equitable investment in clean water and healthy rivers is vital to a better future. President Biden can fight climate change, improve public health, address longstanding injustices and boost the economy by prioritizing healthy rivers.” 

“The President’s plan is a strong first step, and we must do more. The problems facing our rivers and communities are significant and require big solutions. We must increase investment to address disparities in access to clean water and we must improve public health and safety. Climate change is increasing the urgency to remove outdated, unsafe dams, and advance nature-based and equitable drought and flood protection solutions.” 

“American Rivers remains committed to working with Congress and the administration to focus investments on the most critical water and river priorities. When we invest in rivers, we invest in a future of abundance and prosperity.”