The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), DigDeep, the US Water Alliance and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) marked the 11th annual World Plumbing Day on March 11 by co-hosting a congressional briefing on the recently released report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan."
DigDeep and the US Water Alliance, with assistance from IAPMO, produced the report, which found more than 2 million Americans live without running water, indoor plumbing or sanitation service. TV and print outlets throughout the United States have highlighted the report and its findings since its November release.
The event included representatives from DigDeep, the US Water Alliance and RCAP, representatives from communities mentioned in the report such as the Navajo Nation and the Deep South, and others who came to present the findings and recommendations to Capitol Hill.
The study recommended a series of remedies, including re-introducing Census questions about whether homes have working taps and toilets, as well as changes to how the federal government funds and regulates water systems to support rural and unincorporated areas. There are also several recommendations for the philanthropic and global WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) sectors to drive community empowerment, deploy innovative technologies, and apply successful WASH models from abroad here in the United States. The full report is available online at www.closethewatergap.org.
IAPMO also participated in a federal agency roundtable hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The event included agency officials from the United States Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of the Interior.
"Today's events in Washington, D.C., highlight the water and sanitation challenges impacting individuals and families every day across the United States," said Dain Hansen, IAPMO's executive vice president of government relations. "Engaging partners, members of Congress on Capitol Hill and policymakers at federal agencies is a necessary and important part of what World Plumbing Day is all about."
"We sometimes take our taps and toilets for granted, so today is a great time to pause and remember the ways running water enables us to live our daily lives; to learn, earn and even play with our kids," said DigDeep CEO George McGraw. "Every American has a right to these basic services and we need to do more to serve our millions of neighbors who still struggle every day without running water."
The WPC in 2010 established March 11 as World Plumbing Day, an annual celebration to promote appreciation of the plumbing industry's vital work on behalf of the planet and its people. IAPMO has been an enthusiastic supporter of World Plumbing Day from its inception, developing educational materials and administering student contests to promote the event and facilitating the acknowledgement and action of the U.S. Congress.