Bush Plan to Cut Clean Water Fund Called Unwise

Fund Supports Local Projects That Protect Clean Water, Treat Wastewater

Oakland, CA, February 10, 2005: President Bush’s proposal to slash funding for clean water protection was decried as shortsighted and unwise by the Pacific Institute today. As detailed in the proposed 2006 budget, $369 million in federal money would be cut from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Annual support for the Fund has decreased from $1.98 billion four years ago to $730 million in the proposed budget. The joint federal-state fund provides support for projects to protect and improve water quality in the United States.

“Cutting funding to protect our critical supplies of clean water is poor policy and a false economy,” explained Dr. Peter H. Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute and a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. “Improving and protecting water resources should be of paramount importance to any administration. Budget cuts may well be needed, but cutting the Clean Water Fund is penny wise and pound foolish.”

The Pacific Institute is particularly concerned by these cuts because of the many threats to U.S. water supplies. Aging water infrastructure, a growing population, the destruction of wetlands, new forms of chemical pollution, and climate change all pose serious risks to fresh water resources in the United States

“Reviewing government programs for effectiveness is an important part of every budget,” continued Gleick. “But on this count, the Clean Water Fund should come out a winner — it is a successful program that fulfills a vital need for a reasonable price.”

Projects the Fund has helped support include wastewater treatment plant upgrades to keep raw sewage out of lakes and rivers, septic system upgrades for small towns to protect groundwater, and water treatment plant upgrades to ensure that tap water is clean and drinkable.