With the 2016 Presidential general election quickly approaching, both major party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have finalized the policy platforms for their campaigns. Although neither party truly took advantage of the opportunity to discuss and promote America’s vital infrastructure, both parties include some discussion about their view of the future of America’s water infrastructure. Regardless of the winner in November, water infrastructure will be an important issue in America’s near future. We at the Clear Water Council hope both parties recognize the seriousness and significance of investing in American infrastructure.
For the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton is proposing revitalizing water infrastructure through increased federal investment, in addition to promising to make America’s water infrastructure more energy efficient and sustainable.
According to Business Insider, “Clinton said she would increase federal spending on infrastructure projects by $275 billion in the five years after her possible inauguration.”
To augment her clean water infrastructure plan, Clinton has also proposed continued upkeep to America’s dams and levees. “Our 84,000 dams and roughly 100,000 miles of levees serve to protect us from floods, facilitate the movement of goods, generate electricity, and more,” states the Democratic National Committee (DNC) platform. The DNC platform touches on disparities existing between the upkeep of these key pieces of infrastructure and their uncontestable importance to clean water and energy in America. We will continue to benefit from dam systems which irrigate our farms, hold water supplies in their reservoirs , and protect us from major storms and flooding. The Democratic National Committee has also proposed creating a national Infrastructure Bank to leverage more investment.
In contrast with the DNC’s platform proposing increased water infrastructure spending on a federal level, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s plan for spending increases in American water infrastructure aim to utilize private funding.
According to Business Insider, “even after his initial campaign launch, [Trump] has committed to …large [infrastructure] improvements throughout his campaign.” The RNC platform is in favor of funding clean water projects, and insists that funding will come from the private sector. They plan to do this by eliminating regulatory hurdles.
Under the “Building 21st century infrastructure” section of the Republic National Committee’s platform, more is proposed about reforming water infrastructure. The platform aims to revitalize 21st century energy and water systems, modernize schools, and continue to expand high speed broadband networks. The RNC platform also claims that “[the GOP] will protect public health and safety by modernizing drinking and wastewater systems,” but is sparse on specifics.
The GOP website also highlights a current and persisting water crisis in America. The party claims that most Americans take for granted the seemingly endless availability of clean water in our country. GOP.com says that, “engineering surveys report crumbling drinking water systems, aging dams, and overwhelmed wastewater infrastructure.” A revitalization of American water infrastructure could bring jobs, prosperity, and above all clean water to all Americans.
Although Democrats and Republicans may hold two separate agendas when it comes to campaigning, both can agree that the condition of America’s pipes, water treatment plants, and dams is a pressing matter of national concern and must be addressed this election year.
Read the full platforms for yourself here: