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Today, the U.S. Senate passed S. 914, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, which includes a provision from Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet’s Resilient Act, that if passed, will require outreach to rural communities on water infrastructure financing and funding options. The bill now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet

“Rural communities across the nation face many of the same challenges as larger communities, but often with fewer staff and resources,” said Bennet. “This provision will help ensure that local leaders have information on federal funding and financing options, so they can pursue the water infrastructure projects that fit their needs.”

The main bill focuses on safe drinking water for municipal systems. Bennet’s provision will require the Environmental Protection Agency to work with other relevant federal agencies to develop and implement a plan to do outreach to rural communities on water infrastructure financing opportunities. This outreach will connect local leaders with funding sources so they can make much-needed updates to their water infrastructure.

Since 2018, Bennet has held meetings with state water infrastructure experts, Colorado county staff, town clerks, and city managers, regional economic development experts on the West Slope, and Councils of Governments to hear directly from Coloradans about their challenges with rural water infrastructure. The Resilient Act was drafted with this feedback in mind, seeking to make it easier for rural communities to invest in their infrastructure.