80th Annual Meeting


WHEREAS, local government investments in community water and wastewater systems have continually increased over the last 6 decades; and

WHEREAS, continual improvement in water quality has been achieved, such that the fires on the Cuyahoga River are a sad memory and no longer a current event; and

WHEREAS, the level and type of drinking water treatment has advanced to the point that waterborne infectious diseases have been dramatically reduced for several decades; and   

WHEREAS, actuarial tables reflect progress in extending the lifetime of our citizens and this progress is partially due to improvements in water quality: females born in 1960 have a life expectancy of 73 years, and females born in 2008 have a life expectancy of 80 years; males born in 1960 have a life expectancy of 66 years, and males born in 2008 have a life expectancy of 75 years; and

WHEREAS, given the reality that over 90 percent of all spending on community water and wastewater systems, including compliance with Clean Water Act (CWA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) federal unfunded mandates, is made by local governments; and

WHEREAS, Congress and the Administration has aggressively retreated from shared financial responsibility for achieving clean water goals; and

WHEREAS, the Administration has dramatically increased regulatory mandates that are implemented in a stove-pipe fashion with little or no regard for the cost burden to comply that is placed on local governments and ratepayers; and

WHEREAS, local government spending on community water and wastewater infrastructure and services faces unprecedented levels amounting to $103 billion in 2009, and local government has no alternative but to finance capital investment in water and wastewater with long-term debt that now crowds the ability of local government to finance other worthy public projects; and

WHEREAS, local government long-term debt has grown from $886 billion in 2000 to $1.61 trillion in 2009, and cities and their respective ratepayers are ill prepared to afford additional unfunded water mandates,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors urges all city governments to establish as their highest priority the continued investment to sustain the currently operating community water and wastewater systems serving the public because it provides public benefits that sustain our quality of life, including: protecting public health; providing for support of local and metro econolocal government long-term debt has grown from $886 billion in 2000 to $1.61 trillion in 2009, and cities and their respective ratepayers are ill prepared to afford additional unfunded water mandates,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the imposition of new water and wastewater regulations divert resources from this higher priority and by so doing increase the likelihood that adequate reinvestment to maintain and sustain current water and wastewater systems is in jeopardy, and that system decay, service disruptions and the re-emergence of parasitic waterborne diseases must weigh heavily in any decision to impose new and additional water and/or wastewater unfunded mandates; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the second most important priority of local government is to secure the future water supply by: protecting source water, including groundwater, groundwater recharge and sole source aquifers; and the water quality of estuaries, lakes, and rivers; eliminating water loss from failing pipes; reducing water use through conservation efforts; and increasing water supply via recycling reuse, reclamation and desalination according to appropriate ‘fit for use’ strategies the imposition of new water and wastewater regulations divert.


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2012