The annual Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum, a collaborative initiative between the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, serves as a platform for addressing domestic water challenges in the 21st century. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Forum took place across a series of virtual sessions exploring what constitutes good water governance through the lenses of water affordability and equity. While this topic was chosen prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the pandemic has further revealed and exacerbated health and financial disparities across racial, gender, and geographic lines.
On September 10th, the group came together for the third session of the 2020 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum Virtual Series on Water Affordability to address the critical issues and solutions in the water sector brought to light by the pandemic. Participants learned from experts on federal assistance programs in food, energy, and taxes that have been developed to support low-income Americans struggling with poverty and discussed their greatest successes, failures, and potential to meet the needs of the water community. Building a Federal Water Assistance Program summarizes these discussions of the September session.