The next administration should establish a National Water Technology Pipeline (Pipeline) to spur the innovation and commercialization of water technologies. The Pipeline should be designed to:
- Proactively deploy monitoring and treatment technologies nationwide to avoid the devastating societal impacts of water contaminants.
- End significant sanitary sewer overflows that pose risks to human and environmental health.
- Ensure that every community in America has access to affordable and safe drinking water.
A National Water Technology Pipeline would mobilize American entrepreneurs and manufacturers to develop the next generation of solutions in water treatment, monitoring, and data management. The Pipeline would facilitate commercialization of later-stage water technologies by identifying innovative next-to-market technologies, proving technology through competitive demonstration projects, and deploying market-ready technology at full scale with federal funding support. An underlying objective of the Pipeline would be to improve water quality and access in the United States while addressing mounting infrastructure and maintenance costs. The Pipeline would also place an emphasis on training the next generation of technology-focused water professionals and strengthening community engagement and customer service.
Modernizing the water sector will require the federal government to renew its commitment to investing in water. The water sector currently receives only 4% of its funding from the federal government: a far lower fraction than other infrastructure sectors, such as highways (25%), mass transit and rail (23%), and aviation (45%). Increasing federal funding for water even by a few percentage points would have hugely beneficial impacts. By dedicating 5% of projected water infrastructure costs—an estimated $6 billion per year over the next 10 years—the next administration can build a robust National Water Technology Pipeline, ushering in a new era of water and sanitation technologies.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The Biden-Harris Administration should facilitate the transition to a clean grid by aggressively supporting utility-scale renewable energy resources in rural areas that are connected to urban centers through modernized high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission.
A just transition from coal to nuclear energy production requires developers to listen and respond to local communities’ concerns and needs through the process of planning, siting, licensing, design, construction, and eventual decommissioning.
Programs across the federal government are working to increase American health by making physical activity safer and more accessible, but most Americans still fail to get enough physical exercise, which has social and economic consequences.