To the editor:

Water main breaks disrupt communities’ access to clean drinking water, and the recent water main break in Kinderhook is just one example of New York’s aging water infrastructure. Funding for new water infrastructure is essential to help communities across the state fix their pipes and boost the economy. This water main break shut off water for over 24 hours, and a boil water advisory was put in place for the Valatie Water District for nearly six days. This is not an isolated incident, however, as water main breaks are happening throughout New York State. With COVID-19, a lack of access to clean water puts the health of citizens of these communities at greater risk.

Last year, the State Legislature included $500 million in new funding for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act to help communities like Kinderhook prevent water main breaks. However, none of this money has been awarded to communities; the grant dollars were held back in 2020 by state agencies. Local governments could not access the financial assistance they needed to jump-start projects and put New Yorkers to work with safe, good-paying jobs. Getting money out the door to fix our pipes is essential to boost New York’s COVID-19 recovery. State agencies, like the Environmental Facilities Corporation, must release clean water grants as soon as possible, to address the backlog of shovel-ready projects and ensure that all New Yorkers have uninterrupted access to clean water.

Maggie Shugrue

Clean Water Intern

Environmental Advocates NY

Albany

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