Opinion: Building water workforce vital for America’s future

By U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko / CQ-Roll Call WASHINGTON America faces a tough reality when it comes to our drinking water infrastructure.
Even as water system failures hit communities all across the U.S., the professionals who keep these beleaguered systems operating safely are aging too.
Some are fed by groundwater wells that tap into vast underground aquifers that span communities.
Today, some water managers are trained engineers, while others are public works managers who do a hundred other jobs every day.
Jobs in water engineering are more than just a local public works concern.
This bill would deliver resources to help elementary and secondary schools provide students with formal and informal engineering education.
The bill also includes provisions to increase participation of underrepresented student groups in the engineering and engineering technology pipeline.
We need a workforce with the skills to manage critical water systems across all sectors of our economy.
As existing systems age, the pressure on water managers, systems engineers and local government budgets will only grow.
Rep. Paul Tonko, an engineer by training, is a Democrat representing New York’s 20th District.

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