State Policy Showcase: How States Can Use Federal Covid Relief Funds to Pay for Equitable Water Infrastructure

Monday, 12/06/2021
2:00 PM ET - 3:00 PM ET

Event Info

As part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March to help revive the economy and protect public health by providing direct support to individuals as well as state, tribal, and local governments. The total package provided $1.9 trillion in relief for a wide range of purposes.  

The funding for local, state, and tribal governments is intended to be flexible and allow communities to prioritize their highest needs within a broad range of categories, taking into account those hit hardest by the pandemic. The Treasury Department’s water-related categories include: Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, and support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure (Read more about ARPA on our blog). 

In our next State Policy Showcase we will be joined by Rebecca Haynes, Deputy Director at Conservation Voters of South Carolina, and Anna Killius, Government Affairs and Policy Manager at James River Association, to share South Carolina and Virginia’s plans to use American Rescue Plan funds for equitable water infrastructure. 

In both case studies, we will hear about the nuts-and-bolts of each state’s allocation of ARPA funding for various types of water infrastructure projects as well as the strategies and enabling conditions that led their state leaders to act. 

Following the case studies, we’ll have group discussions on topics such as what you see as the key components needed for states to direct recovery funds toward water infrastructure investment, barriers and roadblocks you’re likely to encounter, strategies you’d use to overcome barriers, windows of opportunity you’d look for, coalitions you’d want to build, and other strategies you see are needed to successfully advocate for equitable water infrastructure investment. 


About the State Policy Showcases

“State Policy Showcases” are a new online peer exchange we are offering at River Network.  

We’ve heard from you! Water advocates across the country who work on advancing progressive water policy at the state level have been telling us for a while that they would find it helpful if we could highlight state policy successes on a variety of clean water issues. You’ve told us that you’re interested in both the “nuts and bolts” of the policy and how it works, as well as the “how-to” and what it took to get the policy adopted including the strategy, campaigns, coalitions, etc. 

We hope to host around six showcases a year. We will feature a different water-related policy and case studies from network members who worked on getting those policies adopted during each showcase, as well as facilitate discussion so you can ask questions and share your ideas and experiences. 

If you have a suggestion for a policy you’d like to learn about or a case study you’d like to share – as well as any other feedback on this idea – please reach out and let us know. 

Stay-tuned for upcoming State Policy Showcases!