Chris Jones believes that every community across the state of Arkansas deserves clean, safe, drinking water. Water is critical to life and livelihoods: everyday residents need access to clean drinking water and farmers need access to functioning levees to ensure they have water for crops.
Arkansas’s dams, levees, and inland waterways provide infrastructure for shipping and hydroelectric power — but these systems have been so underfunded that they are putting our communities at risk. According to a recent infrastructure report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, 193 dams in Arkansas are considered to be high-hazard potential.
Tax exempt private activity bonds are used by states and other municipalities to finance water infrastructure projects. Because there is a federal cap on these types of bonds, it limits their effectiveness. Chris Jones would join a bipartisan effort for Congress to remove these caps.
While on average, drinking water is cleaner than the rest of the nation’s, this is not spread evenly throughout the state. In some communities, environmental standards have not been enforced, which means that residents are subject to polluted drinking water. As governor, Chris Jones would advocate for the enforcement of Clean Water Rules to ensure every community has access to clean water.
Addressing our growing water infrastructure problems will require leadership and cooperation among all levels of government, increased engagement by the private sector, and an involved Arkansan public. Reinvesting in our nation's water infrastructure isn’t just essential for the health and the safety of our communities, it’s also a chance to grow our workforce. Arkansas deserves a water infrastructure system that meets modern safety standards, protects the environment, and enables continued prosperity.
On supporting good water systems, Chris Jones would:
Advocate for more private sector investment into water infrastructure systems
Promote the adoption of more energy efficient technologies and practices at drinking-water and wastewater facilities
Work with law-makers to enforce existing standards that protect drinking water for all Arkansans — especially those that live in more rural communities — and lift the volume cap for tax-exempt bonds for water infrastructure
Push for necessary lower cost solutions for water quality and treatment challenges
Invest in water research programs across Arkansas’s colleges and universities