Media Center

After decades of declining federal water spending, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) included a historic sum to update our public plumbing and help communities prepare for a climate-changed future. A few months later, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) built on this investment with billions more for drought and flood resilience.

This media center is designed to help journalists and content creators understand what’s in the infrastructure laws for water, where dollars are going, and what their impact will be in communities and ecosystems.

Just Infrastructure news

Wetlands to water mains

Infrastructure is much more than just pipes and treatment plants. It includes the forests that feed rivers, wetlands and oyster beds that protect communities from flooding, green streets and rain gardens that soak up rain and runoff, and more.

Both infrastructure laws include substantial money for green or nature-based projects, which has historically been underfunded, despite its potential to multi-solve water and climate challenges while saving money. So far, BIL and IRA dollars have helped restore wetlands, slow and spread urban runoff, remove or update dams, and modernize irrigation canals.

Follow the money

Most federal drinking and clean water dollars flow through the EPA to states, territories and Tribes via State Revolving Funds in the form of grants and low-interest loans. While the EPA has outlined implementation guidance, most decisions about where water infrastructure dollars are spent happen at the state level. Historically, water systems serving people of color have received less assistance, but the Justice 40 Initiative is an opportunity to shift this, and environmental finance centers are working around the country to connect communities to federal dollars.

Core areas of focus

There are dozens of programs funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act that touch water, but we’ve chosen to focus this website on three issues that are impacting communities across the country and stand to see real progress with this historic infusion of federal dollars:

Flood Justice

Rising seas and stronger storms have put 17 million homes at risk of flooding, and the nation’s levees and stormwater systems received a D grade by the American Society for Civil Engineers. Funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act will help shore up engineered protections and update sewer systems prone to spilling, and support natural infrastructure like green streets and wetlands that help to slow and spread water before it rushes into roads and basements. 


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Safe Water and Sanitation

Safe water and sanitation are the foundation for public health, but many communities have been denied these essential services through disinvestment that has left 2 million people in the U.S. living without running water or flush toilets and millions more with toxic taps. Fortunately, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at last reversed a decades-long decline in federal water spending. It includes more than $50 billion to replace lead pipes, test and treat PFAS “forever chemicals,” and close long-standing infrastructure gaps in communities lacking access to basic water services.


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Living with Drought and Weather Whiplash

Increasingly, infrastructure built to control water is failing in the face of megadroughts and super storms. While weather whiplash is happening across the country, the long-term trend in the Western U.S. is toward warming and drying, making it especially important there to make the most of every drop of rain or snow. BIL and IRA funding are supporting a range of drought preparedness projects, from water efficiency to large-scale recycling, but nature-based infrastructure like wetlands and floodplains do double duty, helping boost resilience to both droughts and flooding.


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