Gov. John Carney Thursday signed into law House Bill 200, the Clean Water for Delaware Act.
HB 200, sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, establishes a framework for assessing needs and planning to implement projects that support Delaware’s efforts to improve the quality of the state’s water supply and waterways.
The act also calls for creating the Delaware Clean Water Trust supported by $50 million in the fiscal year 2022 budget as a funding source for water quality and water-related projects.
“All Delawareans deserve clean water. The Clean Water for Delaware Act and our new Clean Water Trust will help us deliver on that promise,” said Carney. “This legislation and unprecedented investment, which had bipartisan support, will help us protect our waterways for future generations of Delawareans, and upgrade our infrastructure to make sure all Delaware families have access to clean drinking water. Thank you to Representative Longhurst, Senator Townsend, the Delaware Nature Society and all the advocates who have worked on this issue for years.”
The legislation supports Carney’s Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities that is part of DNREC’s work with the state’s low-income, underserved communities.
“I want to recognize Carney, Rep. Longhurst and the entire General Assembly, and all stakeholders for their support in giving DNREC additional tools to help the state realize the goal of Clean Water for all Delawareans,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With this legislation, through the Clean Water Trust, we will be able to bring more resources to bear and more partners to the table to address the water challenges of our state. And though the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative, state agencies, particularly DHSS and DNREC, are in a position to lift those who until now might have been thwarted by circumstances, costs or lack of community governance structure from their right to safe drinking water and proper wastewater treatment.”
“House Bill 200 and the new clean water funding investments are a game changer for Delaware,” said Delaware Nature Society Interim Executive Director Joanne McGeoch. “Clean water is critical to Delaware’s environment, wildlife, economy, food supply, and public health. HB 200 will ensure that this vital resource is protected today and for future generations.”
Delaware has long wrestled with the issue of dealing with widespread problems with its waterways and water supply.