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Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt backs a proposal from the Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan that allocates 2.5 billion dollars of American Rescue Plan funds to address issues of sustainability and resiliency in the water sector.
The coalition’s MI Prosperity Roadmap outlines a funding plan encompassing five key areas:
“I support the coalition’s recommendations, particularly in the water sector. I appreciated being a part of the process that we started nearly two years ago with many other subject matter experts.”-Pratt
Water infrastructure across Michigan is in desperate need of repair and replacement. Without intervention, Michigan will continue to experience infrastructure failures impacting public health, the environment, and quality of life.
These funds would allow for improvements such as:
Pratt notes, “This package is very important. While it does not close the funding gap that has been identified by the state and many industry experts, particularly given the short and long-term impacts of increasing severe weather on our aging infrastructure, this proposal is an important step in the right direction.”
Washtenaw County has seen an increased number of extreme storms and flooding in recent years. Residents have experienced three ‘50-year’ storms this summer alone, and climate models forecast more extremes in the future.
Pratt adds, “Most people would agree that summer storms were particularly severe this year, both in rainfall severity and impact to people all over. There is more of that to come and I appreciate the work SEMCOG has done to help us understand that by mid-century, the ‘100-year storm’ (1% chance of happening in a given year) will become the ‘10-year storm’ (10% chance of happening in a given year). In other words, bad storms will happen much more often”.
The American Rescue Plan provides an opportunity to repair and replace aging water infrastructure, resolve public health problems, reduce environmental contamination, and provide current and future generations with resilient and sustainable systems.